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8 January 2009

Use Cases and User Stories

For a few months now I have been trying to work out whether I should be running with use cases or user stories on a hybrid XP/Scrum/Prince2/Waterfall project.

User stories are attractive because they are part of the XP toolkit and are lightweight and easy to implement. That rolls well with the team members who have had several bad waterfall project experiences and want to turn their backs on the way they used to do things.

Use cases provide context and a more holistic view of a product. They also require more discipline to put together and more time to complete. And they are less complimentary with a just in time requirements inventory. The Use cases the team are used to dealing with are also very abstract, so sometimes it is hard to get a feel for the tanglible feature set being developed.

There are strengths and weaknesses to both, and possibly the biggest issue to consider is which toolkit is the team best able to work with. I don't have an answer to that right now.

Of couse Alistair Cockburn does.

He's a fan of something he calls Lite use cases, which he links to in his post. Take a look and let me know your thoughts.
Photo by ntr23 cc @ flickr