Use Cases: How Are They Different From User Stories


Use cases and user stories are both used for documenting user requirements. There are certain similarities between the two but more differences. Both are created from the perspective of the user. Both list the system features and are required by the development team for creating the best solution. Both help in the organization and categorization of requirements. You can use them as references when testing to confirm requirements being fulfilled.

Use cases have different goals than user stories. They provide different kinds of detail and are used at different points during the project and requirements lifecycle. Your Softteco projects are covered by all different types of documentation to simplify all stages of the project.

What is a Use Case?

A use case is a set of interactions between a system and actors. Actors can be users or other systems. It is a comprehensive specification of all the likely scenarios. It is a method of capturing the process flow and the potential alternatives and outcomes. A use case is a functional requirement that details not just the behavior, but also how that behavior is to be achieved.

A use case covers greater detail. The documents can be much longer, containing much more information. It is going to capture the user-system interaction in details. In fact, an excellent use case specification covers everything, leaving nothing uncovered.

On the other hand, user stories are shorter and precise statements from the perspective of the user. It lists what the user requires from a system and covers the business value connected with the interaction.

A use case covers the following elements, which are not included in a user story:
– Detailed rules of business
– Usability standards
– Data specifications

User stories cover only the basic description of the feature.

Pros of Use Case & User Story

Use cases help in identifying the key actors. It helps break down the problem into smaller components. The amount of research involved can help with the success of the project, allowing you to address all the different perspectives.

On the other hand, a user story is an informal process that begins with a simple statement. It is often used as the start point from which the use cases are further derived. User stories are beneficial for you if you want the agility of increasing value in smaller amounts and sooner.

Cons of Use Case & User Stories

Use cases are designed for providing formal blueprint for projects. Usually, they don’t allow much additions or negotiations for the project. To the user, the Use Case can become a little complicated. It is a format that isn’t intended to be readily usable for end users.

On the other hand, User Stories are nowhere near as detailed as Use Cases. This means that much of the details are left out. There is more emphasis on the conversational aspect of providing the details and duration of development. The documentation is not comprehensive like Use Cases and relies more on collaboration that may not be available.

Use Case Specifications

A Use Case Specification is meant to be detailed. It is a textual description of the functions of a system. It is clear and detailed in specific how a user will interact with a system and the way the system will respond to the user’s actions. The description is usually phrased as a dialog between the system and actor. When most people think of Use Case, they think of the Use Case Specification. It is represented as an oval within the Use Case Diagram.

There are a number of reasons why Use Case is still used over User Stories for many projects. User Stories lack context of the primary goal, doesn’t offer a system for getting a preview of the upcoming work, and lacks the sense of comprehensiveness.