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Re: User Stories vs. Agile Use Cases

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  • Tom Mellor
    Alistair makes good points. We find use cases more valuable when we are producing a new system and we want to see the flow, the pre-conditions,
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 1, 2008
      Re: User Stories vs. Agile Use Cases

      Alistair makes good points.  We find use cases more valuable when we are producing a new system and we want to see the flow, the pre-conditions, post-conditions, assumptions, etc.  Obviously we don't try to drive out the requirement details for the system in use cases, but rather we use them to tie the components of the system together for a big picture view.  In existing systems that we are upgrading, rewriting, etc., we typically only compose user stories, even if use cases for the system have not been created.  One thing about use cases that is potentially unfavorable is that they decay over time unless they are properly updated for changes.  Therein lies the problem - who takes the responsibility and realizes they need to be updated.  User stories don't typically decay as readily. 

      Tom Mellor
      Certified Scrum Trainer
      tom.mellor.c5t2@...
      309.846.4899 (Work and Cell)
       

    • aacockburn
      Good points, Tom. This sort of discussion gets me to note that the workers working on my house have a belt sander and also a chisel. I ve seen them use both.
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 1, 2008
        Good points, Tom.

        This sort of discussion gets me to note that the workers working on
        my house have a belt sander and also a chisel. I've seen them use
        both. I've not yet seen them argue over, "Should we get rid of the
        belt sander and only keep the chisel, or vice versa?"

        I also can't see the workmen saying, "I'm not going to learn how to
        use a belt sander - this chisel works fine for me."

        The way of phrasing the question about use cases versus user stories
        already presupposes that an either/or choice is appropriate.

        They are both tools. Learn them both. We are all professionals -- it
        behooves us to know the tools available to us.

        Alistair


        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Tom Mellor"
        <tom.mellor.c5t2@...> wrote:
        >
        > Alistair makes good points. We find use cases more valuable when
        we are
        > producing a new system and we want to see the flow, the pre-
        conditions,
        > post-conditions, assumptions, etc. Obviously we don't try to drive
        out
        > the requirement details for the system in use cases, but rather we
        use
        > them to tie the components of the system together for a big picture
        > view. In existing systems that we are upgrading, rewriting, etc.,
        we
        > typically only compose user stories, even if use cases for the
        system
        > have not been created. One thing about use cases that is
        potentially
        > unfavorable is that they decay over time unless they are properly
        > updated for changes. Therein lies the problem - who takes the
        > responsibility and realizes they need to be updated. User stories
        don't
        > typically decay as readily.
        >
        > Tom Mellor
        > Certified Scrum Trainer
        > tom.mellor.c5t2@...
        > 309.846.4899 (Work and Cell)
        >
      • peterstev
        Lady & Gentlemen, Yes, I have learned a lot from this discussion as well, including the value of well equipped tool box ;-) Kind regards, Peter
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 1, 2008
          Lady & Gentlemen,

          Yes, I have learned a lot from this discussion as well, including the
          value of well equipped tool box ;-)

          Kind regards,

          Peter

          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "aacockburn" <acockburn@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Good points, Tom.
          >
          > This sort of discussion gets me to note that the workers working on
          > my house have a belt sander and also a chisel. I've seen them use
          > both. I've not yet seen them argue over, "Should we get rid of the
          > belt sander and only keep the chisel, or vice versa?"
          >
          > I also can't see the workmen saying, "I'm not going to learn how to
          > use a belt sander - this chisel works fine for me."
          >
          > The way of phrasing the question about use cases versus user stories
          > already presupposes that an either/or choice is appropriate.
          >
          > They are both tools. Learn them both. We are all professionals -- it
          > behooves us to know the tools available to us.
          >
          > Alistair
          >
          >
          > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Tom Mellor"
          > <tom.mellor.c5t2@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Alistair makes good points. We find use cases more valuable when
          > we are
          > > producing a new system and we want to see the flow, the pre-
          > conditions,
          > > post-conditions, assumptions, etc. Obviously we don't try to drive
          > out
          > > the requirement details for the system in use cases, but rather we
          > use
          > > them to tie the components of the system together for a big picture
          > > view. In existing systems that we are upgrading, rewriting, etc.,
          > we
          > > typically only compose user stories, even if use cases for the
          > system
          > > have not been created. One thing about use cases that is
          > potentially
          > > unfavorable is that they decay over time unless they are properly
          > > updated for changes. Therein lies the problem - who takes the
          > > responsibility and realizes they need to be updated. User stories
          > don't
          > > typically decay as readily.
          > >
          > > Tom Mellor
          > > Certified Scrum Trainer
          > > tom.mellor.c5t2@
          > > 309.846.4899 (Work and Cell)
          > >
          >
        • David H.
          ... If the value the chisel returned would gradually move towards zero I stipulate that discussion would come up more and more. ... You have obviously never
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 1, 2008
            2008/12/1 aacockburn <acockburn@...>:
            > Good points, Tom.
            >
            > This sort of discussion gets me to note that the workers working on
            > my house have a belt sander and also a chisel. I've seen them use
            > both. I've not yet seen them argue over, "Should we get rid of the
            > belt sander and only keep the chisel, or vice versa?"
            >
            If the value the chisel returned would gradually move towards zero I
            stipulate that discussion would come up more and more.

            > I also can't see the workmen saying, "I'm not going to learn how to
            > use a belt sander - this chisel works fine for me."
            >
            You have obviously never met my steph father (who happens to be a
            structural engineer for car bodies) and swears to certain ways of
            doing it and completely disregarding others. Apparently it works for
            him, he is still quite respected in his community.

            > The way of phrasing the question about use cases versus user stories
            > already presupposes that an either/or choice is appropriate.
            >
            > They are both tools. Learn them both. We are all professionals -- it
            > behooves us to know the tools available to us.
            >
            We are also human and thus we are limited in what we can learn. I
            would suggest we only learn the things that return most value to us in
            the context we need to learn them in. If knowing a lot about Use Cases
            enables me to write better User Stories in the end, then I am all for
            learning about them.

            I do not know anything noteworthy about Use Cases and yet I seem to be
            capable of writing User Stories for complex problems. I would really
            like to know whether learning about Use Cases can improve my
            abilities. Any suggestions?

            -d

            --
            Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication.
            Do not send me sensitive information here, ask for my none-gmail accounts.

            "Therefore the considerations of the intelligent always include both
            benefit and harm." - Sun Tzu
          • aacockburn
            I learned long ago that there are people who will only learn a new tool or technique when faced with abject failure. Short of that, they say -- no matter what
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 1, 2008
              I learned long ago that there are people who will only learn a new
              tool or technique when faced with abject failure. Short of that, they
              say -- no matter what difficulties they encounter along the way --
              "See, I told my tool box was sufficient for the job."

              Best wishes with your tool box. May you one day learn to spot the
              empty spaces in it.

              Alistair

              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "David H." <dmalloc@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > 2008/12/1 aacockburn <acockburn@...>:
              > > Good points, Tom.
              > >
              > > This sort of discussion gets me to note that the workers working
              on
              > > my house have a belt sander and also a chisel. I've seen them use
              > > both. I've not yet seen them argue over, "Should we get rid of the
              > > belt sander and only keep the chisel, or vice versa?"
              > >


              > If the value the chisel returned would gradually move towards zero I
              > stipulate that discussion would come up more and more.
              >
              > > I also can't see the workmen saying, "I'm not going to learn how
              to
              > > use a belt sander - this chisel works fine for me."
              > >
              > You have obviously never met my steph father (who happens to be a
              > structural engineer for car bodies) and swears to certain ways of
              > doing it and completely disregarding others. Apparently it works for
              > him, he is still quite respected in his community.
              >
              > > The way of phrasing the question about use cases versus user
              stories
              > > already presupposes that an either/or choice is appropriate.
              > >
              > > They are both tools. Learn them both. We are all professionals --
              it
              > > behooves us to know the tools available to us.
              > >
              > We are also human and thus we are limited in what we can learn. I
              > would suggest we only learn the things that return most value to us
              in
              > the context we need to learn them in. If knowing a lot about Use
              Cases
              > enables me to write better User Stories in the end, then I am all
              for
              > learning about them.
              >
              > I do not know anything noteworthy about Use Cases and yet I seem to
              be
              > capable of writing User Stories for complex problems. I would really
              > like to know whether learning about Use Cases can improve my
              > abilities. Any suggestions?
              >
              > -d
              >
              > --
              > Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication.
              > Do not send me sensitive information here, ask for my none-gmail
              accounts.
              >
              > "Therefore the considerations of the intelligent always include both
              > benefit and harm." - Sun Tzu
              >
            • George Dinwiddie
              ... There s a /really/ good book on Use Cases, though Alistair may be too modest to mention it. I think you would find reading it worth your time.
              Message 6 of 15 , Dec 1, 2008
                David H. wrote:
                > We are also human and thus we are limited in what we can learn. I
                > would suggest we only learn the things that return most value to us in
                > the context we need to learn them in. If knowing a lot about Use Cases
                > enables me to write better User Stories in the end, then I am all for
                > learning about them.
                >
                > I do not know anything noteworthy about Use Cases and yet I seem to be
                > capable of writing User Stories for complex problems. I would really
                > like to know whether learning about Use Cases can improve my
                > abilities. Any suggestions?

                There's a /really/ good book on Use Cases, though Alistair may be too
                modest to mention it. I think you would find reading it worth your
                time. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0201702258/

                I've also seen people use Use Cases like a carpenter using a chisel for
                a screwdriver. I couldn't get them to take a look at the book. I also
                couldn't get them to throw out "use cases" where there was no user, just
                another part of the same system.

                I wouldn't say Use Cases are /necessary/ "for showing people the shape
                of the system to be," but they're a good tool to know.

                - George

                --
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
              • Raghuram
                I agree that use cases are surely a good tool to know. People who have been using use cases earlier and changed over to user stories, in my opinion, can write
                Message 7 of 15 , Dec 1, 2008
                  I agree that use cases are surely a good tool to know. People who have been using use cases earlier and changed over to user stories, in my opinion, can write better stories.  But people who already have started using user stories before knowing anything about use cases may feel it a bit redundant.
                   
                  K.V.M.Raghuram,



                  From: George Dinwiddie <lists@...>
                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tuesday, 2 December, 2008 8:21:14 AM
                  Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: User Stories vs. Agile Use Cases

                  David H. wrote:

                  > We are also human and thus we are limited in what we can learn. I
                  > would suggest we only learn the things that return most value to us in
                  > the context we need to learn them in. If knowing a lot about Use Cases
                  > enables me to write better User Stories in the end, then I am all for
                  > learning about them.
                  >
                  > I do not know anything noteworthy about Use Cases and yet I seem to be
                  > capable of writing User Stories for complex problems. I would really
                  > like to know whether learning about Use Cases can improve my
                  > abilities. Any suggestions?

                  There's a /really/ good book on Use Cases, though Alistair may be too
                  modest to mention it. I think you would find reading it worth your
                  time. http://www.amazon.. com/exec/ obidos/ISBN= 0201702258/

                  I've also seen people use Use Cases like a carpenter using a chisel for
                  a screwdriver. I couldn't get them to take a look at the book. I also
                  couldn't get them to throw out "use cases" where there was no user, just
                  another part of the same system.

                  I wouldn't say Use Cases are /necessary/ "for showing people the shape
                  of the system to be," but they're a good tool to know.

                  - George

                  --
                  ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
                  * George Dinwiddie * http://blog. gdinwiddie. com
                  Software Development http://www.idiacomp uting.com
                  Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemar yland.org
                  ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -



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                • David H.
                  ... Thanks... as he goes and buys it... -d -- Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication. Do not send me sensitive information here, ask for my
                  Message 8 of 15 , Dec 2, 2008
                    2008/12/2 George Dinwiddie <lists@...>:
                    > David H. wrote:
                    >> We are also human and thus we are limited in what we can learn. I
                    >> would suggest we only learn the things that return most value to us in
                    >> the context we need to learn them in. If knowing a lot about Use Cases
                    >> enables me to write better User Stories in the end, then I am all for
                    >> learning about them.
                    >>
                    >> I do not know anything noteworthy about Use Cases and yet I seem to be
                    >> capable of writing User Stories for complex problems. I would really
                    >> like to know whether learning about Use Cases can improve my
                    >> abilities. Any suggestions?
                    >
                    > There's a /really/ good book on Use Cases, though Alistair may be too
                    > modest to mention it. I think you would find reading it worth your
                    > time. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0201702258/
                    >
                    Thanks... as he goes and buys it...

                    -d

                    --
                    Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication.
                    Do not send me sensitive information here, ask for my none-gmail accounts.

                    "Therefore the considerations of the intelligent always include both
                    benefit and harm." - Sun Tzu
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