Monthly Archives: March 2014

Do We Really Need Use Case Diagrams?

I’ve never been a fan of Use Case Diagrams.  I always thought they were an example of forcing information into diagram form that is better captured in a simpler structure, just because someone thinks diagrams are always easier to understand.  Or because the folks behind UML thought they had to have a diagram for every possible need, no matter that putting some information in diagram form actually makes some things harder to understand.

For systems with lots of functionality and dependent use cases, a Use Case Diagram can be practically un-usable.  Especially once you start having a lot of <<Extends>> and <<Includes>> in the diagram.  Luckily, most of the Use Case Diagrams I have seen don’t have many actual use cases in them, and have few or no <<Extends>> or <<Includes>>.  For the simple systems, a Use Case Diagram isn’t that bad.

But in the end, I think they are a bit of overkill when you balance the usefulness of the results versus the amount of effort.  You need diagramming software of some sort at a minimum, and I think there are simpler options.

Take the Use Case Diagram below, which comes from the Use Case Diagram page in this site’s wiki:
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New Wiki Entry: Use Case Diagrams

I added a new wiki page for Use Case Diagrams.  I’m not a big fan of them, so there may be ways the same diagrams could be improved or even errors.  But since I had to study up on them as preparation for the CPRE-FL exam, I tried to make the information as accurate as I could since I might be tested on it.

But please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments.  I’m always open to suggestions for improvement.  Thanks!