Published on February 5th, 2020
Software requirements provide a description, a codification, a specification of a software-based solution to be implemented that lay the groundwork for software development.
The user requirements specification (URS) describes the business needs for what users require from the system. The URS is generally a planning document, created when a business is planning on acquiring a system and is trying to determine specific needs.
Software developers are masters of the art of coding. However, when software developers think that they have achieved everything described in the user requirements specification, some last-minute changes occur.
This is the major reason why every software development cycle should have rapid development approaches like Agile, DevOps and CI/CD, which rely on two versatile and informal means to establish software requirements: user stories and use cases.
Agile development depends on the requirements, and it adjusts to requirements as and when required. We as software developers need to understand what goes into the user story vs a use case, when to use one or the other, and how to write both of them properly.
When You Should Select A User Story Vs A Use Case?
It depends on the user which one is best – user story or use case. A user story provides the short description which outlines the who, what and why of one or a set of software requirements.
A generic format for the user story should specify the purpose and objective. You can make up some story to support the product. After this, a developer finally reaches the final product through simple and actionable steps.
User stories are not quite suitable for a software discussion. They tend to be quick and simple and without any of the technical detail. Whereas the use case shows the functional requirement of the software. The focus here is on the cause and effect. The actual scenario is that the user does and the system responds.
A Use case is known to provide a deeper and detailed understanding which deals with the functional software requirements, describing a behavior or interaction, often in the form of a flow or a dialog.
In contrast to user stories, this cause-and-effect relationship of a use case includes additional criteria and responses that form a flow or a chain of events, detailing the feature or function of the software.
Use Cases And User Stories: How To Approach Them
Both the user stories and the use case involve some common approach and purpose. The basic difference lies in the level of detailing between a user story and a use case. Despite having some differences, there’s no clear-cut winner in the user story vs. use case comparison, and they’re not mutually exclusive.
Developers can turn to any of the approaches which they feel is fit. What format needs to be chosen completely depends on the project suitability here. And, sometimes it is somewhat personal preference too.
For instance, a software project early in its life cycle where the functions and everything else in still emerging, might be benefited from detailed use cases. And, gradually when that software project moves towards later stages of its life cycle, then simple user stories might be a better option, as they address smaller, more specific tasks.