Using Enactable Models to Enhance Use Case Descriptions, March 2003
Authors: Cox, K. and Phalp, K.T.
Place of Publication: BournemouthAbstract:
Many tools developed for process modelling either model client business processes or the software development process itself. In both cases, benefits are to be found by using the model to highlight real process problems either of clients or developers. However, the modelling of client business processes allows a further opportunity for gain, where the intention is to build a system to provide support for the process being modelled.
Although process models inform the requirements process, by providing clarity and understanding at the business modelling stage, the potential of such technology is often lost in the subsequent development phases.
The premise of the work described here is to use enactable state-based approaches, previously used successfully in business process modelling and simulation, to improve artefacts of requirements engineering, by providing enactable versions of use case descriptions. This allows for the kind of validation and checking so useful to business models. In particular, such models can be used to inform design, by providing rigorous scrutiny of the (low-level) details of use case behaviour.
The efficacy of this approach was gauged initially by producing enactable equivalents of use case descriptions using the existing process modelling language and tool RolEnact. However, industrial application also found that there was a mapping overhead and, hence, end users were reluctant to devote their time to producing enactable use cases without increased automation. This suggested a pressing need for tool support. That is, a use-case description tool which provided enaction capability, but without need for any further description. A prototype use case enaction tool is, therefore, introduced, along with a discussion of development issues and possible future directions.
Preferred by: Keith Phalp