Replacing User Stories with Use Cases

Use Cases are a classical format used in UML to describe user scenarios and document requirements. They have been mostly replaced by user stories when software development teams adopt Agile software development approaches like Scrum. This article by Paul Raymond discusses how classical use cases can be used to expand Agile user stories during requirements elicitation in Scrum sprints.

Even if many people criticize the minimalist format of user stories, they often forget that they are mainly a support for a conversation and don’t have the objective to fully document requirements. Paul Raymond wrote that if Use Cases have a formality and level of detail that are not necessarily commensurate with Agile software development, they might appeal to those looking for a way to record more information, or to organize the information obtained as part of the discovery process.

His conclusion is that “Use Cases offer value to Agile projects, not as a replacement for User Stories but as a way to expand on them once they are selected for the next iteration. The available literature on the subject seems to focus on the problematic use of strict Use Case formats when in fact, the important point is not what is done, but who does it.”

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