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The goal is a good place to start, but it does not de ne all the features that the application must provide The next step is to de ne the features as high-level use cases A use case is a possible use of the application from the user s perspective
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NOTE: The terms use case and scenario are often used interchangeably However, there is a key difference between the two A use case defines a possible use of the application A scenario is the set of steps involved in a use case
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Normally, there is one use case for each primary task a user must perform To de ne these tasks, you need further interviews with the users, domain experts, and management To collect information from the users, you could follow a usercentered approach whereby you ask the users what they need and de ne those needs as the application requirements The primary problem with
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this approach is that most of the time the users don t really know what they need They may know what they do and have some idea of how the computer can make their job easier or more productive But frequently, they don t really know how an application can help them Sometimes users do not even know the primary business goal being met by the tasks they are performing They do the task this way because it has always been done this way, so they think the application should do it this way as well However, the current process may not make sense in an automated system A better way to de ne project requirements is to take a goal-centered approach This approach requires that you investigate further with the users and domain experts to establish the true goals behind the de ned needs These goals are then used to morph the de ned needs into project requirements The primary difference between this approach and the usercentered approach is that with this approach you have to dig deeper to the real goals instead of just asking the users A simple example can illustrate this point Say your users are the salespeople who make calls to customers As you are de ning the requirements for a Purchase Tracker application, the users state the requirement: We currently e-mail the accounting department if a customer s contact name has changed It would be nice if the system sent this e-mail automatically By digging further into this need, you nd that the true goal is to ensure that the contact name is updated in the accounting database The goal-centered requirement can then be stated: Keep the accounting data current with customer data This allows more ef cient solutions, such as automatically creating a transaction to update the accounting data when a contact name is changed This saves the company time and money both in the sales department, since they no longer need to send an e-mail, and in the accounting department, since they no longer need to receive the e-mail and manually adjust their records Several types of users may use the application In the Purchase Tracker example, support staff enters customer and product information; external customers can maintain and view their own information; salespeople view desired purchase data; management gets reports; and another internal system is a user of product data Including each of these different types of users, sometimes called actors, in this step helps ensure that you de ne all the appropriate use cases for the application
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NOTE: In the book About Face, Alan Cooper recommends giving each user profile a name: Vic the VP who has trouble with computers or Sal the busy salesperson (See the Additional Reading section for information on Cooper s book) This approach helps you think about the system s users and provides a context for the usage scenarios without getting personal by using real people s names and information
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For the Purchase Tracker example, the use cases are de ned as follows:
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Support staff maintains customer information Customers maintain their information Support staff maintains product information The inventory system obtains product information Salespeople view purchases for their customers Management receives reports on customer purchases and product statistics Customers view their past purchases
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