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Lesson 4Building a use case diagram
ObjectiveConstruct a Use Case Diagram from a Problem Statement

Construct Use Case Diagram from Problem Statement

The key to building a use case diagram that is based on a problem statement is to listen closely to the subject matter experts (SME) as they describe the problem domain to you. The SMEs cannot describe the problem domain without talking about the actors and use cases of the system. Users appear as the subject in most sentences describing how the system is used. For example, the SMEs might say,
The agents update the customer address.
The agent uses the system to change information stored by the system. Hence, the agent becomes a potential actor in your use case diagram. The actions described in the problem statement become potential use cases.
In the example just used, “update address” becomes a candidate use case.

What to include in your Use Case Diagram

However, just because a SME says something does not mean it necessarily belongs in your use case diagram. Keep in mind that the context of the system, the scope of the project, and the constraints on the project and system will provide you with the criteria from which you will build your use case diagram. Also remember that the scope of project initiation maintains an encapsulated view of the system. This means that only the features of the system that must be visible from outside the system should appear on your use case diagram.

Subject Matter Experts and the Use Case Diagram

It often works well to have the SMEs develop the use case diagram with you. Use the drawing process as an opportunity to ask probing questions about the content, always applying the criteria described above to decide whether or not to include what the SMEs say.

The interview process

Let us step through a sample use case interview process using the SlideShow below.
  1. Add the users as temporary actors
  2. Add the users as temporary actors
  3. Add systems
  4. Add devices
  5. Convert users, systems, and devices to actors
  6. Add the use cases
  7. Merge actor #2 with actor #1
  8. Merge use case #4 and #5. Use the name for use case #4
  9. Add the associations
  10. Eliminate the user case #2 because it is not visible to any actors outside the system.
  11. Finished use case diagram

Draw System

Build Use Case Diagram - Exercise

Click the Exercise link below to build a use case diagram for an online delivery system. This is the fifth exercise in the course project.
Build Use Case Diagram - Exercise

Ad Writing Effective Use Cases