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UML. Use Case Modeling. Objectives. Identify actors from a problem statement. Identify use cases from a problem statement. Learn how to create a use-case diagram that accurately models the system. Learn how to write use-case specification, glossary, and supplementary specification document.

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Use Case Modeling

  • Identify actors from a problem statement.
  • Identify use cases from a problem statement.
  • Learn how to create a use-case diagram that accurately models the system.
  • Learn how to write use-case specification, glossary, and supplementary specification document.
the purpose of the requirements discipline
The Purpose of the Requirements Discipline
  • The Requirements discipline intends to:
    • Find agreement on what the system should do.
    • Provide a better understanding of the system requirements.
    • Define the boundaries of the system.
    • Provide a basis for planning the technical contents of iterations.
    • Provide a basis for estimating cost.
    • Define a user-interface for the system.
relevant requirements deliverables or artifacts
Relevant Requirements Deliverables or Artifacts

Use-Case Model



Use Cases




Use-Case Specifications

what is a use case model
What Is a Use-Case Model?
  • A model that describes a system’s functional requirements in terms of use cases.
  • A model of the system’s intended functionality (use cases) and its environment (actors).

View Report Card

Register for Courses



what is use case modeling
What is Use Case Modeling?

A a view of a system that emphasizes the behavior as it appears to outside users. A use case model partitions system functionality into transactions (i.e., use cases) that are meaningful to users (i.e., actors).

  • System behavior is how a system acts and reacts.
    • It is an outwardly visible and testable activity of a system.
  • System behavior is captured in use cases.
    • Use cases describe the system, its environment, and the relationship between the system and its environment.
use case granularity
Use Case Granularity


major concepts in use case modeling
Major Concepts in Use-Case Modeling
  • An actor represents anything that interacts with the system.
  • A use case defines a set of use-case instances, where each instance is a sequence of actions a system performs that yields an observable result of value to a particular actor.


Use Case

what are the benefits of use case models
What Are the Benefits of Use-Case Models?
  • Used to communicate with the end users and domain experts
    • Provides buy-in at an early stage of system development
    • Insures a mutual understanding of the requirements
  • Used to identify
    • Who interacts with the system and what the system should do
    • The interfaces the system should have
  • Used to verify
    • All requirements have been captured
    • The development team understands the requirements
system surroundings and actors
System Surroundings and Actors
  • Users who execute the system’s
    • Main functions
    • Secondary functions, such as system administration
  • External hardware that the system uses
  • Other systems interacting with the system
useful questions in finding actors
Useful Questions in Finding Actors
  • Who will supply, use, or remove information?
  • Who will use this functionality?
  • Who is interested in a certain requirement?
  • Where in the organization is the system used?
  • Who will support and maintain the system?
  • What are the system’s external resources?
  • What other systems will need to interact with this one?


actors and roles
Actors and Roles
  • An actor represents a role that a human, hardware device, or another system can play.
  • The difference between an actor and an individual system user is that an actor represents a particular class of user rather than an actual user.
  • Actor names should clearly denote the actor’s role
  • Actor description:
    • Area of responsibility
    • Dependency of the actor on the system





A User May Have Different Roles

Minder as



case study course registration problem statement
Case Study: Course Registration Problem Statement

Course Registration Problem Statement

(From Visual Modelling with Rational Rose and UML, Terry Quatrani 1998)

The university will require a new Course Registration system. At the beginning of each semester, professors at the university will register the courses that they are going to teach with the system. The system then will allow students to request a course catalogue containing a list of course offerings for the coming semester. Information about each course such as professor, department and prerequisites are included. The student then can select four-course offering. Once the registration process is completed for a student, the registration system sends information to the billing system so the student can be billed for the semester. For each semester, there is a period of time that students can change their schedule through adding or dropping courses. Professors must be able to access the system to indicate which courses they will be teaching and to see which students signed up for their course offerings.

practice find the actors
Practice: Find the Actors
  • In the Course Registration System Requirements document, read the Problem Statement for the Course Registration case study.
  • As a group, identify the following:
    • Actors
    • Description of the actor
finding use cases focus on the actor
Finding Use Cases: Focus on the Actor
  • The system exists only for its users
  • Use cases should be based on the user’s needs
  • Answer the following questions to find use cases.
    • For each actor you have identified, what are the tasks the system would be involved in?
    • Does the actor need to be informed about certain occurrences in the system?
    • Will the actor need to inform the system about sudden, external changes?
    • What information must be modified or created in the system?
mot analysis example credit card
MOT Analysis Example: Credit Card

MOT: Moment of Truth

  • Pri to MOT
    • Recognition
    • Information gathering
    • Comparison
  • MOT
    • Applying for Credit Card
    • Receiving Credit Card
    • Using Credit Card
    • Providing Information
    • Changing and Upgrading
    • Gifts giving
    • Emergency Assisting
  • After MOT
    • No usage follow-up
    • Stop membership follow-up
practice solution
Practice: Solution

A person who is registered to take courses at the University

The external system responsible for student billing




The unabridged catalog of all courses offered by the University

A person who is teaching classes at the University




The person who is responsible for the maintenance of the course registration system


name use cases
Name Use Cases

Register for



  • The name indicates what is achieved by its interactions with the actor(s).
  • The name may be several words in length.
  • No two use cases should have the same name.

Maintain Student


practice finding use cases
Practice: Finding Use Cases
  • In the Course Registration System Requirements document, read the Problem Statement for the Course Registrations case study.
  • As a group, using the actors identified in the earlier practice session, identify the following:
    • Use Cases
    • Use-Case names
practice solution27
Practice: Solution

Register for


View Report











Select Courses

To Teach



use cases and actors
Use Cases and Actors
  • A use case models a dialog between actors and the system.
  • A use case is initiated by an actor to invoke a certain functionality in the system.

a use case:

. . .describes a sequence of actions, performed by a system, that yields a result of value to the user.

concept communicate association
Concept: Communicate-Association
  • Use cases and actors interact by sending signals to one another.
  • To indicate such interactions, use a communicate-association.

Use Case



practice use case and actor communication
Practice: Use Case and Actor Communication
  • In the Course Registrations System Requirements document, read the Problem Statement for the Course Registration case study.
  • As a group, using the actors and use cases identified in the earlier practice session, identify:
    • Communicate-associations between the actors and the use cases.
use case and actor communication
Use Case and Actor Communication

View Report Card


Register for Courses

Maintain Professor Information

Course Catalog


Maintain Student Information

Select Courses to Teach



Close Registration

Submit Grades

Billing System

develop a library system use cases exercise
Develop a Library System Use Cases Exercise
  • Identify actors
  • Determine major use major use cases
  • Draw a use case diagram

The library system is designed for a local public library.

use case specifications
Use-Case Specifications

Use-Case Model


Use Cases


Use-Case Specifications

  • Name
  • Brief description
  • Flows of Events
  • Relationships
  • Activity diagrams
  • Use-Case diagrams
  • Special requirements
  • Pre-conditions
  • Post-conditions
  • Other diagrams
use case description change flight
Use Case Description: Change Flight
  • Actors: traveler, client account db, airline reservation system
  • Preconditions:
    • Traveler has logged on to the system and selected ‘change flight itinerary’ option
  • Basic course
    • System retrieves traveler’s account and flight itinerary from client account database
    • System asks traveler to select itinerary segment she wants to change; traveler selects itinerary segment.
    • System asks traveler for new departure and destination information; traveler provides information.
    • If flights are available then
    • System displays transaction summary.
  • Alternative courses
    • If no flights are available then …

Use Case Flow of Events

  • Has one normal, basic flow  Happy Case
  • Several alternative flows
    • Regular variants of the basic flow
    • Odd cases
    • Exceptional flowshandling error situations
what are scenarios
What Are Scenarios?
  • A scenario is an instance of a use case


Course Registration System Glossary


This document is used to define terminology specific to the problem domain, explaining terms, which may be unfamiliar to the reader of the use-case descriptions or other project documents. Often, this document can be used as an informal data dictionary, capturing data definitions so that use-case descriptions and other project documents can focus on what the system must do with the information.


The glossary contains the working definitions for the key concepts in the Course Registration System.

2.1Course: Aclass offered by the university.

2.2Course Offering: A specific delivery of the course for a specific semester – you could run the same course in parallel sessions in the semester. Includes the days of the week and times it is offered.

2.3Course Catalog: The unabridged catalog of all courses offered by the university.

supplementary specification
Supplementary Specification



  • Functionality
  • Usability
  • Reliability
  • Performance
  • Supportability
  • Design constraints

Online Resource:


Verify a Use Case Model

  • Is the use-case model understandable?
  • By studying the use-case model, can you form a clear idea of the system's functions and how they are related?
  • Have all functional requirements been met?
  • Does the use-case model contain any superfluous behavior?
  • Is the division of the model into use-case packages appropriate?
verify actors
Verify Actors
  • Have all the actors been identified?
  • Is each actor involved with at least one use case?
  • Is each actor really a role? Should any be merged or split?
  • Do two actors play the same role in relation to a use case?
  • Do the actors have intuitive and descriptive names? Can both users and customers understand the names?
verify use cases
Verify Use Cases
  • Is each use case involved with at least one actor?
  • Is each use case independent of the others?
  • Do any use cases have very similar behaviors or flows of events?
  • Do the use cases have unique, intuitive, and explanatory names so that they cannot be mixed up at a later stage?
  • Do customers and users understand the names and descriptions of the use cases?
verify use case specifications
Verify Use-Case Specifications
  • Is it clear who wishes to perform a use case?
  • Is the purpose of the use case also clear?
  • Does the brief description give a true picture of the use case?
  • Is it clear how and when the use-case's flow of events starts and ends?
  • Does the communication sequence between actor and use case conform to the user's expectations?
  • Are the actor interactions and exchanged information clear?
  • Are any use cases overly complex?
verify glossary
Verify Glossary
  • Does each term have a clear and concise definition?
  • Is each glossary term included somewhere in the use-case descriptions?
  • Are terms used consistently in the brief descriptions of actors and use cases?
library system use case
Library System Use Case

A library contains books and journals. The task is to develop a

computer system for borrowing books. In order to borrow a book

the borrower must be a member of the library. There is a limit on the

number of books that can be borrowed by each member of the library.

The library may have several copies of a given book.

It is possible to reserve a book.

Some books are for short term loans only. Other books may be

borrowed for 3 weeks. Users can extend the loans.

1. Draw a use case diagram for a library system.

2. Give a use case description for two use cases:

• Borrow a copy of a book

• Extend the loan of a book

step wise refinement of use case model
Step Wise Refinement of Use Case Model

The eight basic steps to generate use cases model for each business process area:

Step 1: Confirm actors and goals. Have all actors and their goals been identified? Which actors can be generalized (combined)? Which goals are potential use cases?

Step 2: Develop an outline of the use case(s). For the goals identified as potential use cases, what are the key pieces? For each outline level, what are key data? Outline all use cases. Prioritize the use-case flows. Decide on a final use-case list (for initial pass).

Step 3: Write a brief description of the use case(s). What two or three sentences describe all actors and the basic flow? Generate content first, and worry about wordsmithing it later.

Step 4: Detail the basic flow. What event starts the use case? How does the use case end? How does the use case repeat some behavior? What is the "happy" (best case) path? There is one and only one basic flow.

step wise refinement of use case model46
Step Wise Refinement of Use Case Model

Step 5: Detail the alternate flows.Are there optional situations for the use case? What might go wrong? What might not happen? Which resources might be blocked? Which alternate flows are special — perhaps nonfunctional — requirements (i.e., they apply to this use case only)?

Step 6: Review the use case(s). Are there more use cases? Should some use cases be redefined? Which ones can be combined?

Step 7: Record pre- and post-conditions. What was the previous state before this use case comes into play? What happens once the use case is complete?

Step 8: Develop generalizations for all use cases. Determine shared content and process for the use cases. What items have been noted for the glossary or as global business rules? Who has the most recent and accurate source document? Where is it located?

  • Write something readable.
    • Casual, readable use cases are still useful whereas unreadable use cases won’t get read.
  • Work breadth-first, from lower precision to higher precision.
    • Precision Level 1: Primary actors name and goal
    • Precision Level 2: The use case brief; or the main success scenario
    • Precision Level 3: The extension conditions
    • Precision Level 4: The extension handling steps
  • For each step:
    • Show a goal succeeding.
    • Capture the actor’s intention, not the user interface details.
    • Have an actor pass information, validate a condition, or update state.
    • Write between-step commentary to indicate step sequencing (or lack of).
    • Ask “why” to find a next-higher level goal
  • For data descriptions (only put Precision Level 1 into the use case text):
    • Precision Level 1: Data nickname
    • Precision Level 2: Data fields associated with the nickname
    • Precision Level 3: Field types, lengths, and validations

Source: Writing Effective Use Cases by Alistair Cockburn, 2001, Addison-Wesley

the writing process
The Writing Process

1. Name the system scope and boundaries.

Track changes to this initial context diagram with the in/out list.

2. Brainstorm and list the primary actors.

Find every human and non-human primary actor, over the life of the system.

3. Brainstorm and exhaustively list user goals for the system.

The initial Actor-Goal List is now available.

4. Capture the outermost summary use cases to see who really cares.

Check for an outermost use case for each primary actor.

5. Reconsider and revise the summary use cases. Add, subtract, or merge goals.

Double-check for time-based triggers and other events at the system boundary.

6. Select one use case to expand.

Consider writing a narrative to learn the material.

Source: Writing Effective Use Cases by Alistair Cockburn, 2001, Addison-Wesley


7. Capture stakeholders and interests, preconditions and guarantees.

The system will ensure the preconditions and guarantee the interests.

8. Write the main success scenario (MSS).

Use 3 to 9 steps to meet all interests and guarantees.

9. Brainstorm and exhaustively list the extension conditions.

Include all that the system can detect and must handle.

10. Write the extension-handling steps.

Each will end back in the MSS, at a separate success exit, or in failure.

11. Extract complex flows to sub use cases; merge trivial sub use cases.

Extracting a sub use case is easy, but it adds cost to the project.

12. Readjust the set: add, subtract, merge, as needed.

Check for readability, completeness, and meeting stakeholders’ interests.

review questions
Review Questions
  • What are the main artifacts of requirements?
  • What are the requirements artifacts used for?
  • What is a use-case model?
  • What is an actor?
  • What is a use case?
  • What is the difference between a scenario and a use case?

Create a payroll system for restaurants and hotels. Make certain that

the usual deductions are taken into consideration. The payroll must

accommodate both salaried and hourly employees. The waiters are

salaried employees, but the busboys are hourly employees. The

payroll system must print checks weekly. The system will produce a

payroll register which will be turned over to auditors monthly.

Income and tax reports (such as W-2s* in the U.S.) must be prepared

according to legal requirements. Reports concerning voluntary

deductions will be prepared for various agencies on a quarterly basis.

? The payroll must treat part-time employees as hourly employees.

Full-time employees and salaried employees may take advantage of

the various company benefits, part-time employees may not.

Restaurant employees will be able to eat meals at their restaurant but

will have the cost of the meals deducted from their paycheck. Hotel

employees will have room costs deducted if they live in the hotel.

There are voluntary deductions and mandatory government

deductions that must be taken into account.

*W-2 = U.S. annual income statement


  • Identify for the Payroll System
    • Actors
    • Use cases
  • Name the use cases
  • Produce the use-case model for the Payroll System.
  • Provide:
    • Actor descriptions
    • Brief use-case descriptions
  • Compare your results to other groups.
    • Are there differences? Why? How would you resolve these differences?
use case diagram
Use Case Diagram

UML Notation Guide

use case relationships
Use Case Relationships

<<includes>> and <<extends>>

online hr system update benefits use case
Online HR System: Update Benefits Use Case
  • Actors: employee, employee account db, healthcare plan system, insurance plan system
  • Preconditions:
    • Employee has logged on to the system and selected "update benefits" option
  • Basic course
    • System retrieves employee account from employee account db
    • System asks employee to select medical plan type; include Update Medical Plan.
    • System asks employee to select dental plan type; include Update Dental Plan.
  • Alternative courses
    • If health plan is not available in the employee’s area the employee is informed and asked to select another plan...
when to model use cases
When to model use cases
  • Model user requirements with use cases.
  • Model test scenarios with use cases.
  • If you are using a use-case driven method
    • start with use cases and derive your structural and behavioral models from it.
  • If you are not using a use-case driven method
    • make sure that your use cases are consistent with your structural and behavioral models.
use case modeling tips
Use Case Modeling Tips
  • Make sure that each use case describes a significant chunk of system usage that is understandable by both domain experts and programmers
  • When defining use cases in text, use nouns and verbs accurately and consistently to help derive objects and messages for interaction diagrams
  • Factor out common usages that are required by multiple use cases
    • If the usage is required use <<includes>> or <<uses>>
    • If the base use case is complete and the usage may be optional, consider use <<extends>>
  • A use case diagram should
    • contain only use cases at the same level of abstraction
    • include only actors who are required
  • Large numbers of use cases should be organized into packages
model explorer
Model Explorer

Linking an Linking a model element to another diagram

exercise automated teller machine atm
Exercise: Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
  • Brief Statement of Purpose:
  • An ATM is an electronic device designed for automated dispensing of money. A user can withdraw money quickly and easily after authorization. The user interacts with the system through a card reader and a numerical keypad. A small display screen allows messages and information to be displayed to the user. Bank members can access special functions such as ordering a statement
  • Additional Notes:
  • Users shall be able to access the ATM by punching in their account number and PIN. Once the system has verified that the account is active and the PIN matches with the account number, the system offers the users four choices. Users can withdraw money, deposit money, check balance or quit the session.
  • The user must have a minimum of $100 in his / her account. At the end of any transaction a printed copy of the transaction is provided to the user. A transaction could be - withdraw money, deposit money or check balance. Once the user has completed a transaction, the system offers the user the same four choices, until the user decides to quit.
  • Brief Summary of Requirements:
  • The ATM is required:

1. To allow authorized card holders to make transactions

1. Card holders shall view and/or print account balances

2. Card holder shall make cash withdrawals

3. Card holder shall make cash or check deposits

4. Card holder shall quit session

2. To allow bank members to access additional, special services

1. A bank member shall be able to order a statement

2. A bank member shall be able to change security details (e.g. PIN number)

3. To allow access to authorized bank staff

1. Authorized staff can gain access to re-stock the machine

2. Authorized staff are able to carry out routine servicing and maintenance

4. To keep track of how much money it contains and alert bank staff when stocks are getting low.

exercise requirements
Exercise Requirements
  • Identify the actors
  • Identify the uses cases
  • Draw the top level Use-Case diagram
  • Develop a detailed Use-Case analysis for a use case.
  • Your analysis should contain a brief description of the use case, the basic and alternative flows, pre and post conditions.
context of a system
Context of a System
  • The whole is more than the sum of the parts
  • The whole determines the sum of the parts
  • The parts cannot be understood if considered in isolation from the whole
  • The parts are dynamically interrelated and interdependent

-- Fredrick Hagel (1770-1831)