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Requirements Gathering with Use Cases for Business Analysts

Lean Use Cases Are an Easy Requirements Elicitation Technique that Align Business, User, and Technical Stakeholder Needs

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Duration: 3.5 hours on-demand videos
Format: Online course
Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway

Also available as a face-to-face instructor-led course (traditional classroom and online)

What is this course about?

Business Use Cases Help You Manage Complexity

Use Case Models are well suited to build a product backlog.
They are the ideal tool to identify, clarify, and organize functional software requirements for a digital solution.

Use Cases define the interactions between people and technology. As a business user of IT solutions, a Use Case enables you to talk to technologists about your IT business needs in a manner they can understand. As a technical professional, a Use Case enables you to talk about technology to the business community without using technical jargon.

Write use case for lean and agile environmentsLean Use Cases are becoming the de facto standard for defining and communicating functional requirements in Lean and Agile environments. Applying the Lean philosophy of waste reduction to the Use Case concept creates a powerful tool for communication to and within a Lean or Agile Software Development team.

User Stories and other forms of textual requirements often lack context making room for ambiguity. Use Case Models, however, provide this context and are easily understandable by all stakeholders, including customers, users and managers, not just developers and testers.

Writing a Lean Use Case is a skill that anyone in an organization can easily acquire. Learning how to write and manage Lean Use Cases at varying levels of detail is a major step in getting your IT applications to do what you want them to do. Knowing why you need a Lean Use Case, when to create one (especially in a lean environment), and where to put what information is critical to creating high-quality functional requirements.

You Will Learn How to Make Use Cases Work in a Lean / Agile Setting

This exercise and example-rich business analysis training course explains the who, what, when, where, how and why of Lean Use Case models. Learn how to make Use Cases fit in the overall process of Lean and Agile software development by starting small with just enough detail at every point in the Agile development process.

To easily discover Use Cases, we include a section on Event-Response Analysis, Vision Statement Analysis, and Example- or Scenario-based Use Case Identification.

After finishing this course, you will be able to write high-quality Use Cases defining actors, pre-conditions, post-conditions, main paths, alternate paths, and exception paths.


DISCLAIMER: We designed this course specifically for people responsible for writing non-technical (Business-oriented) Use Cases from the User perspective. The course does not address the creation or use of System-level Use Cases. System Use Cases are at a much lower level of detail and usually a tool for technical professionals (developers, software engineers, testers, etc.) to help them create the design for a new technology solution. Developers who want to understand Use Cases that are codable will not find anything at that level of detail in this course. You have been warned. Thank you for taking this into consideration before buying this course.

Who should take this course?

  • Product Owners
  • Business- and Customer-side Team Members
  • Business Analysts
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Agile Team Members
  • Subject Matter Experts (SME)
  • Project Leaders and Managers
  • AND “anyone wearing the business analysis hat”, meaning anyone responsible for defining a future IT solution

What Can You Do After the Course?

You will learn how to:

  • Document user interaction in Lean Use Cases descriptions and diagrams
  • Define and defend the need for Lean Use Cases
  • Describe the major components of a Lean Use Case
  • Determine how to handle alternate and exception situations
  • Extract Use Cases from a Vision Statement
  • Apply Business Event Analysis to discover Lean Use Cases based on business activities
  • Analyze business scenarios to discover Lean Use Cases

Detailed Course Outline

Introduction to the Course

  • Course Overview
  • What You Will Learn in This Course
  • About Your Instructor

Introduction to “Lean” Use Cases

  • What You Will Learn in this Section
  • What is a Use Case?
  • A (Very) Brief History of Lean Concepts
  • Lean and Agile: Philosophies that Play Well Together
  • Lean Requirements Defined
  • Use Case vs User Story
  • Lean Principles Applied to Use Cases
  • The Value of “Lean” Use Cases

How to Model Lean Use Cases

  • What You Will Learn in this Section
  • The Use Case Model
  • Actors Are Integral to Use Cases
  • Use Case Diagram Symbols and Rules
  • Use Case Naming Recommendations
  • Different Use Case Types for Different Decisions
  • Business Use Cases Need Briefs
  • Examples of Use Case Briefs

How to Write Detailed Use Case Descriptions

  • What You Will Learn in this Section
  • The Purpose of Solution-Level (Detailed) Use Cases
  • The Components of a Detailed Use Case
  • A Detailed Use Case has Pre- and Post-Conditions
  • Paths (or Flow of Events) Are the Meat of the Use Case
  • How to Represent a Path or Flow of Events
  • 3 Different Types of Paths: Main (aka Standard, Basic), Alternate, and Exception
  • Dealing with “Ifs” (Conditions) in a Use Case
  • Examples of Main, Alternative, and Exception Paths
  • Finding and Developing Alternative and Exception Paths
  • System Use Cases to Communicate with Technical Experts
  • The Role of Non-Functional Requirements in Use Cases
  • Recap of the Detailed Use Case

Minimal Use Case Specifications Are Lean

  • What You Will Learn in this Section
  • Introducing Use Case Inclusions and Extensions
  • Avoid Redundant Use Cases with Inclusions
  • Understanding Use Case Extensions
  • Summary of Extensions and Inclusions

Finding and Defining Lean Use Cases

  • 3 Tools for Discovering Use Cases
  • Tool 1: From Vision Statement to Use Case
  • Example: From Vision Statement to Use Cases
  • Finding Use Cases based on a Vision Statement
  • Tool 2: From Business Events to Use Cases
  • The Purpose of Event/Response Analysis
  • Types of Events
  • Discovering and Naming Business Events
  • Business Events Trigger Use Cases
  • Determining Event Response Recipients
  • Use Cases Handle Events at Every Level
  • Discovering Event Responses
  • Responding to Business Events
  • From Event Response to Use Case Identification
  • Identifying Actors from Events and/or Responses
  • Dealing with Scheduled Events
  • Tool 3: Using Scenarios – A Bottom-Up Approach
  • Add Scenarios to Reveal Different Paths
  • Using Scenarios to Grow a Use Case Description

Summary and Bonus Lecture

  • Summary of Lean Use Cases
  • Bonus Lecture

Lesson Previews

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Simple Conversational Design and Science-based Chatbot Copy that Engages People

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