Advertisement

Quality and Understandability of Use Case Models

  • Bente Anda
  • Dag Sjøberg
  • Magne Jørgensen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2072)

Abstract

Use case models are used in object-oriented analysis for capturing and describing the functional requirements of a system. Use case models are also used in communication between stakeholders in development projects. It is therefore important that the use case models are constructed in such a way that they support the development process and promote a good understanding of the requirements among the stakeholders. Despite this, there are few guidelines on how to construct use case models.

This paper describes an explorative study where three different sets of guidelines were used for constructing and documenting use case models. An experiment with 139 undergraduate students divided into 31 groups was conducted. Each group used one out of the three sets of guidelines when constructing a use case model from an informal requirements specification. After completing the use case model, each student answered a questionnaire.

The results of the experiment indicate that guidelines based on templates support the construction of use case models that are easier to understand for the readers, than guidelines without specific details on how to document each use case. The guidelines based on templates were also considered as the most useful when constructing use cases. In addition to better understandability, our experiment indicates that the guidelines based on templates result in better use case models regarding also other quality attributes. Our results further indicate that it may be beneficial to combine the template guidelines with another set of guidelines that focus on the documentation of the flow of events of each use case.

Keywords

Object-oriented analysis Requirements specification Use Cases UML Understandability Experiment 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Jacobson, I. et al. Object-Oriented Software Engineering. A Use Case Driven Approach. Addison-Wesley, 1992.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kulak, D. & Guiney, E. Use Cases: Requirements in Context. Addison-Wesley, 2000.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Booch, G., Rumbaugh, J. & Jacobson, I. The Unified Modeling Language User Guide. Addison-Wesley, 1999.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cockburn, A. Structuring Use Cases with Goals. Technical report. Human and Technology, 7691 Dell Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84121, Ha.T.TR.95.1, http://members.aol.com/acockburn/papers/usecases.html, 1995.
  5. 5.
    Cockburn, A. Writing Effective Use Cases. Addison-Wesley, 2000.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Schneider, G. & Winters, J. Applying Use Cases. A Practical Guide. Addison-Wesley, 1998.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Constantine, L. L. & Lockwood, L. A. D. Software for Use. A Practical Guide to the Models and Methods for Usage-Centered Design. Addison-Wesley, 1999.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rosenberg, D. & Scott, K. Use Case Driven Object Modelling with UML. Addison-Wesley, 1999.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Regnell, B., Andersson, M. & Bergstrand, J. A Hierarchical Use Case Model with Graphical Representation. Proceedings of Second IEEE International Symposium on Requirements Engineering (RE’95), York, UK, 1995.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Harwood, R. J. Use case formats: Requirements, analysis, and design. Journal of Object-Oriented Programming, Vol. 9, No. 8, pp. 54–57, January 1997.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mattingly, 6L. & Rao, H. Writing Effective Use Cases and Introducing Collaboration Cases. Journal of Object-Oriented Programming, Vol. 11, No. 6, pp. 77–79, 81-84, 87, October 1998.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jaaksi, A. Our Cases with Use Cases. Journal of Object-Oriented Programming, Vol. 10, No. 9, pp. 58–64, February 1998.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Firesmith, D.G. Use Case Modeling Guidelines. Proceedings of Technology of Object-Oriented Languages and Systems. TOOLS 30. IEEE Comput. Soc, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, 1999.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ben Achour, C., Rolland, C., Maiden, N.A.M. & Souveyet, C. Guiding Use Case Authoring: Results of an Empirical Study. Proceedings IEEE Symposium on Requirements Engineering, IEEE Comput. Soc, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, 1999.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cox, K. & Phalp, K. Replicating the CREWS Use Case Authoring Guidelines. Empirical Software Engineering Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 245–268, 2000.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hurlbut, R.R. A Survey of Approaches for Describing and Formalizing Use Cases. Technical Report: XPT-TR-97-03, Expertech, Ltd., 1997.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Martinsen, S.A. & Groven, A-K. Improving Estimation and Requirements Management Experiences from a very small Norwegian Enterprise. SPI 98 Improvement in Practice: Reviewing Experience, Previewing Future Trends. The European Conference on Software Improvement. Meeting Management, Farnham, UK, 1998.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Anda, B., Dreiem, H., Sjøberg, D. & Jørgensen, M. Estimating Software Development Effort Based on Use Cases. Experiences from industry. Submitted to UML’2001 (Fourth International Conference on th Unified Modeling Language).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cioch, F.A. Measuring Software Misinterpretation. Journal of Systems and Software, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 85–95, February 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Høst, M., Regnell, B. & Wohlin, C. Using Students as Subjects. A Comparative Study of Students and Professionals in Lead-Time Impact Assessment. Empirical Software Engineering, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 210–214, November 2000.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tichy, W.F. Hints for Reviewing Empirical Work in Software Engineering. Empirical Software Engineering, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 309–312, December 2000.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Anda, B. & Jørgensen, M. Understanding Use Case Models. Proceedings of Beg, Borrow, or Steal Workshop, International Conference on Software Engineering, June 5, 2000, Limerick, Ireland.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bente Anda
    • 1
  • Dag Sjøberg
    • 2
  • Magne Jørgensen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUniversity of OsloBlindernNORWAY
  2. 2.Simula Research LaboratoryBlindernNORWAY

Personalised recommendations