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My understanding is that a use case is a particular role's interaction on a system to achieve a goal. Nevertheless, I repeatedly see people calling things like the above a "use case," so maybe I'm missing something.

Instead, the above sounds more like an incomplete user story, but without the persona or value component.

(If your curious, here's where I found the above "use case": http://www.gainsight.com/2015/10/08/creating-a-balanced-scorecard-in-gainsight/)

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From the book Writing Effective Use Cases the following definition is given :

A use case is a description of the possible sequences of interactions between the system under discussion and its external actors, related to a particular goal.

The sentence “I want a score to represent the product usage in correspondence with their likelihood to churn.” is a requirement statement, not a use case.

A use case for the same requirement can be something like :

Find products likelihood to churn

  1. User selects the "likelihood to churn" form the menu

  2. The system presents a criteria form

  3. The user fills the criteria and clicks submit

  4. The system presents a list of all products and their likelihood score to churn

The above use case can be a step in a higher level use case i.e. Minimize churns. You move to the higher level by asking why.

  • This is a great answer, thanks. One followup question. You mention a "higher-level use case." Would it be valid to interpret the statement in my question as a sort of high-level use case? Do people do this as shorthand? Or is it still incorrect as a use case? – Austin Chambers Jan 8 '16 at 19:10
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I think that the main problem is that your quote is already a part of the solution, and is not the real user story. You're also right when you say it's incomplete.

In this case, a better user story orientation should be "As a client manager, I want to quickly identify clients close to churn, so I can call them and provide them help or commercial offer to avoid their leave"

  • My question is about use cases, not user stories. The problem seems to be that people treat them the same, but my understanding is that they are two different things. Is it your position that they are essentially the same thing? I haven't heard much of this perspective, so I'm curious what you think. Thanks! – Austin Chambers Jan 8 '16 at 15:21
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    They are both "goal-oriented", but are not used in the same context. From my experience, use cases are generally written by IT team, with a strict description layout. They describe a list of actions, in order to achieve a goal (see Wikipedia), and include all information needed to realize them. User stories are historically linked to XP and Scrum, and are more "user-oriented". They can be written by non-IT team member, and are generally related to an "oral culture" in the teeam : they are used as a medium to drive sprint realisation, but are not used for complete project documentation. – romainfulchiron Jan 11 '16 at 15:08
  • Thanks! This seems essentially consistent the answer from @DesignAnalyst: The quote provided is definitely not a use case. – Austin Chambers Jan 13 '16 at 21:24

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