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What Is A Use Case?
Sastri Munsamy
Executive: Technology and Innovation

What Is A Use Case?

Use case testing is a technique that helps to identify test cases that cover the entire system, on a transaction by transaction basis, from start to finish. It is a description of a particular use of the system by a user. It is used widely in developing tests or systems for acceptable levels.


In a use case, there will be a set of actions for the user to complete. The actions can be:


  • Withdraw funds,
  • Balance enquiry,
  • Balance transfer, and/or
  • Other actions relating to the software that is being developed.

Use Case Example

When developing use cases, a test case table is usually developed. There will be a success scenario as well as the steps that the user should complete. Examples of the steps can be:


  • Insert card,
  • Validates card and asks for a PIN,
  • Enters a PIN,
  • Validates a Pin, and
  • Allows access to the account.

Following this, there will also be a list of extensions within the table. It could happen, for example, that upon validating the card, the system determines that something is incorrect. The extensions can be listed as follows:


  • 2a) Card not valid (Display message and reject card),
  • 3a) Pin not valid (Display message and ask for re-try – twice), and
  • 4a) Pin invalid 3 times (eat card and exit).

Many times, software testers and developers refer to users as ‘actors’. Use cases are associated with the following:


  • Actors (human users, external hardware or other components or systems), and
  • Subjects (the component or system to which the use case is applied).

Each use case specifies some behaviour that a subject can perform in collaboration with one or more actors.


A use case specifies a type of behaviour that a subject can perform in collaboration with one or more actors, and it can be described by interactions and activities as well as preconditions, post conditions and natural language where appropriate.


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