Component Use Case
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Component Use Case Documentation Standards

White paper prepared by Codel Services Ltd ©

Problem Statement

Use cases, at an enterprise level can be described in either “black-box” or “white-box” terms, the former treating the enterprise as a single entity, and the latter takes a system-of-systems approach.

“White-box” (or Component Use Cases[1]) can be a very precise way of specifying your enterprise, however, with this precision come many pitfalls, and this paper seeks to define a set of standards[2] as to how  Component Use Cases can be written  to avoid these.

The use of inappropriate levels of Component Use Case modelling leads to the following problems:

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Loss of customer focus (i.e. artefacts that cannot be used for design and build)

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Loss of delivery focus (“Analysis Paralysis”)

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Lack of extensibility and reuse of artefacts from one cycle to another, requiring ever more expensive re-factoring.

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Lack of abstraction means that artefacts that cannot be verified

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Build teams misunderstand functional split between components and interfaces

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Late design ‘breakage’ due to a lack of a clearly defined (high-level) design

This impacts all stakeholders in the IT development cycle from users, to developers. Adopting the standards in this paper will bring the following benefits:

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Artefacts that can aid the development of a design view.

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Return on investment of analysis activity

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Artefacts that can be used as a accurate baseline for further cycles, without the need of further re-factoring.

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Artefacts that abstractly describe a complex problem that can be easily verified

[1] This term is used in preference in this document, because as we will see these are typically scoped to a component part of the enterprise.

[2] Note that this paper focuses predominantly on the semantics of the use cases rather their structure – which has been adequately set out by many of the existing Use Case templates. These two approaches – semantics and structure can be seen to complement rather than replace one another.

 

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