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Describing User Goals with Use Cases

Use Cases were originally devised by Ivar Jacobson, a Swedish electrical engineer who was also an important proponent in the development of the Unified Modeling Language (UML). Use Cases are used as a method for representing functional requirements from the users' perspective. They are said to be goal driven, because the Use Case defines the goal that the user is trying to achieve while interacting with the system. Enterprise Architect fully supports the development of Use Case diagrams, but also fully supports the modeling and management of Use Case text; it has a unique and highly productive tool for working with Use Cases, called the Scenario Builder.

This innovative tool not only allows Use Cases to be modeled at any level of detail, but also automatically creates behavioral models that allow the detailed steps of a Use Case and the interaction between the Actor and the System to be visualized and related to other parts of the model.

The Use Case is a close cousin to the User Story, which is used in a number of Agile Software development techniques. The term originally coined in Swedish is more naturally translated as Usage Scenario, which provides a more compelling explanation of the method.