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Use Case Vs User Story : Difference Between Use Case and User Story

There is a typical assumption that user stories and user cases are identical, but in reality they are two separate concepts (use case Vs user story).

Use cases were the industry standard for many years, and their application was widespread across various domains, including business analysis, systems design, technical requirements, and continuous improvement.

User Story Vs Use Case

As the popularity of agile developed, software teams began to prefer user stories over use cases. This was because the first encouraged more incremental thinking and adaptability.

When to Choose Use Case vs User Story

How are user stories different from use cases? Each method for determining software needs has advantages, but they complement one another. It is up to the project and the organisation to decide whether use cases vs user stories will be used separately or simultaneously.

What is User Stories

User stories are short descriptions of the wants and needs of actual users. From the end-point user’s view, these stories are written. These are typically written in simple, conversational language.

User Stories
Ref: conceptboard

It’s the technical term for discussing a feature from the customer’s perspective. The process of developing agile software makes use of this story. It identifies users and requirements for the product team. 

These are brief sentences that describe the who, what, and why of a single or group of software requirements. User stories provide context for interactions, allowing developers to concentrate on viewpoints, features, functionality, and outcomes.

A user story can often follow this structure:

As a <WHO> I want <WHAT> so that <WHY> orĀ 
As a <USER> I want <THIS FUNCTIONALITY> so that <MY BENEFIT>

They are frequently written by a product owner or production manager who prioritises product backlog items. Practice writing user stories, as every team member is capable of doing so. To explain, here are two basic examples to study:

  • As an Administrator, I want to access information of all users so that I can make modifications to their user permissions as necessary to protect the system
  • As an Online User Alex, I should be able to do online shopping in the portal so I can get the product that I want through the portal
  • As Doctor Diana, I want to access the details of Patients from Hospital Management System so that I can check the past records of the patient that I am attending.

Additional power you get in user stories is the Acceptance Criteria. Every User Story has clear acceptance criteria written, in more of a plan English, in a layman language. This helps make it more requirements than the technical document.

What is Use Cases

A use case is a short description of how a user of a certain procedure will accomplish a goal. Use case is a technique for collecting the requirements, modelling and specifying the requirements of a system. It is set of actions defining the interactions between the role (or actor) and a system to achieve a common goal.

What is Use Cases

As per UML language, Actor can be a human OR another external system. Technically, it describes system and actor interactions. The final result of this procedure is a written record of the user’s actions taken to complete the task effectively.

Most cases describe the activities of a person or an object with a piece of software and the results of those actions.

Here is a general format:

When a user performs (A), the system reacts (B)

What makes a User Story Different from a Use Case?

1. User stories focus on a user

User stories are written to describe a user’s needs. It emphasizes a difficulty that a user experiences. This format uses very straightforward language.Ā 

2. User Stories are built by a single Agile team

The user stories are made for the product development team to understand the requirements in detail. It provides the agile team with a sense of what the application should accomplish. In addition, it specifies all the processes the developers must follow to develop the software. Use cases are, therefore, much more specific than user stories.

3. . User Stories are detailed enough

User Stories are very detailed. In an iteration, a product development team can develop more than 10 user stories, which means the stories are very small in nature. Use cases are addressed at the architectural level and it can be much generalized.

4.  User Stories are easily understandable

User stories are very detailed with clear acceptance criteria. They explain the user scenarios in layman terms. However, use cases can go very technical because its about actors and actions.

5. User Story structure is simple

There is also an enormous variation in structure between user stories and use cases. The user story consists of no more than a couple of sentences of a statement that is written down on a standard index card and describes precisely what it is the user hopes to accomplish.

This makes their generation quick and simple. Use cases might be more time-consuming to develop because they describe each process in depth and are frequently represented by diagrams.

When Should you Implement User Stories?

User stories are simple to understand for anyone, it is clearly written, and it enables agile development incrementally within an iteration. Hence, user story format help in defining the requirements very clear.

Backlog is the source of truth. If the backlog is managed well, the product development will be much faster and of much higher quality.

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