Using the metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle from the previous blog, we inferred the necessity of technology to tame the complexity of a system that is in a state of constant change but which nevertheless must be managed and guided such that it meets key objectives at the individual and enterprise level. The major problem is that jigsaws never come with instructions on how to build order out of chaos – and the individual approach is usually random, based on trial and error!
With any project, be it building a house or fixing a washing machine, a manual is essential. To have any chance of arriving at a destination when setting out into unknown territory, it is wise to have a plan or a map. Without these instructions one can lose track or get completely lost. In the enterprise, when teams lose the focus of project objectives, this translates as financial loss or project failure.
Similarly, a Use Case is a documented record that describes a procedure for interaction with a system and when these records are collectively available they stimulate discussion, which generates ideas for improvements and efficiencies. A Use Case approach forces the consideration of users and customers, which can help elicit feedback and create a dialog to help build better systems. The interaction or cooperation generated creates added value. These records provide transparency, agreement and shared awareness, acting as way markers in a broad landscape of procedures that are foreign to many, as individual knowledge is often siloed.
Although Use Cases are valuable and provide a positive return on investment in time and resources, their development is also takes time. For many different teams however, they lay a foundation for future reference. Enterprise Architect is an indispensable, time saving tool in the Use Case development process.
In mid 2013 Sparx Systems conducted a webinar showcasing model driven development of Use Cases. This informative session reviewed the rich features of Enterprise Architect that can assist in the key processes of analysis, development and testing, saving time while replacing random processes with best practice and creating consensus and clarity between stakeholders.
The webinar can be viewed at: