Can I still use a use case on my agile project – even if the cool kids don’t use them anymore?

I have been told that use cases are very old fashioned now and that all the cool people have moved onto agile user stories.

But I am old school and I still like to pull the old approaches out every now and then and take them for a spin.

I found myself explaining use cases in both a lecture (where the company wanted me to explain them to the BA teams) and a small team where people had been doing use case diagrams but not really use cases. Then I got asked in a BA course – “do you use stories for agile projects and use cases for waterfall ones?”

My answer was “it depends – probably just ask the BA”. But the student responded that she was a BA and that all the other cool BA’s would make fun of her if she wore the wrong clothes to school or used the wrong tool on the wrong project.

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Use cases make for better test scenarios

I have encountered Use Cases on several occasions, sometimes they seem like a simple tool that can be used to better understand how a system behaves from a users perspective, while at other times people describe them as terrifying monsters that have murdered people and led to the destruction of entire projects. So I am going to recommend only using the good kind.

But what is a use case? It is simply an example of how a system (or business service) could be used by someone.

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