Smart use cases

Naming use cases smart

While modeling use cases, and in particular smart use cases, clear naming conventions can emphasis the meaning of your use cases more clearly.

In general
In general you might say that a use case expresses a particular action that is executed by one or more actors. Therefore it is considered good practice to name your use case after the action performed. For instance, a use case that selects a customer can best be named Select Customer. In most cases use case names consist of a verb followed by a noun, such a Create Customer or Calculate Interest. This simple guideline helps you state the goal of your use case more precisely.

Quite often you will see additions to this guidelines, where even more precise actions are modeled. This might be the case for instance, when only limited functionality is available to the actor. This leads to more specialized smart use cases. Think of Select Customer from Region or Find Available Role.

Single or multiple?
The noun that is used in naming your use case plays an important role. Please note the subtle difference between Select Contact and Select Contacts. The first being a use case to select a single contact from a list, the latter is used to select multiple contacts from a list.

And last but not least, the verb you use often comes from a limited dictionary of possible actions. We use quite a number of them, such as Select, Search, Manage, Show, Validate, Calculate, etc. Each of these have a particular meaning. We tend to stick to this limited dictionary – that is enriched only now and then.

It is not a coincidence that these verbs match the smart use cases stereotypes we apply. Please check out

Using this dictionary most people who are familiar with smart use cases will be able to tell you what these use cases do. And so, these naming conventions will assist you in communicating with your business easier and faster. Moreover, if you plan to have your use cases realized offshore, it will also help you address the overseas developers.