Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Over the past three decades, user stories and use cases have become increasingly dominant systems analysis and design (SA&D) requirements techniques. Both support articulating functional requirements for software projects, although they evolved within different software development approaches—user stories from agile development and use cases from traditional software engineering—and they differ significantly in terms of their grammar, syntax, and the level of detail they can capture. As such, user stories and use cases are neither synonyms nor mutually exclusive alternatives. Rather, they can and should be complementary in the systems requirements process. Unfortunately, this mix of similarities and differences—coupled with a lack of formal standards for either—make understanding and synergistically employing user stories with use cases confusing and challenging for practitioners and students alike. To address this, this paper first provides a descriptive overview of the evolution of user stories, use cases, and their interrelationship. Second, it fills a gap in the literature by providing a prescriptive, detailed approach to employing user stories and use cases together. This prescriptive approach is illustrated via a comprehensive tutorial example, providing practitioners with actionable skills and SA&D teachers and students with a new pedagogical tool.





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