Re: Use Cases, up front

Subject: Re: Use Cases, up front
From: Kat Nagel <mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 14:11:45 -0500

At 04:42 PM -0500 2003-11-19, MList -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com wrote:

<oblique venting>
Does anybody work for a company that employes "Use Cases" early in the
design of software/hardware product and interface? Anybody work for a
company that decides early how the user experience/user interface should
operate, and then designs the software, firmware, and maybe even hardware to
reflect the resulting requirements?

I've done occasional freelance projects for companies that relied heavily on use cases in the design phase. While the process isn't always perfect, it does help dramatically in one area: meeting client expectations. When the use cases are hammered out with the client up front, and the client agrees that the use cases adequately describe the tasks that need to be performed and that the organization of the data flow [inputs & outputs associated with each case] that you map from the use cases will produce the result they want, then the software that is developed is more likely to give results that are what the client really expects to get.

Use cases also make it easier to renegotiate the contract in the [almost inevitable] case of scope creep. When the client demands something that isn't covered in the use cases they approved up front, you can point to the use cases and say 'That's an additional feature. It affects these use cases and requires these changes in the data flow. Making those changes will require X additional time, and the charge for that will be $Y.

I like use cases <grin>.

Or does everybody work for companies that figure out the interface and Use
Cases (if they bother) long after they've designed the guts of the product
and is finally getting to how-in-heck a user will actually make this sucker
do something?

I've worked on that kind of project, too, more often than I care to think about. It is usually frustrating for everybody. The developers have to do major rewrites after every client review, the client argues with the account exec about being charged for time wasted programming features the client didn't want, deadlines are missed, and the documentation winds up being too little too late.
K@ Kat Nagel




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Use Cases, up front: From: MList

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