Agile Use Cases + Visual Studio 2010

We all know that Ivar Jacobson is the father of Use cases and that Use cases are a great vehicle for describing requirements. What many developers also know is that Microsoft’s Visual Studio has been a great management tool to enable team members to continuously collaborate providing comprehensive source control, code checkout and bug tracking tools. But what about developing Use cases in Visual Studio as a requirement – not as something you track such as a bug or defect?

Use Cases meet Visual Studio 2010

Use case development and management in Visual Studio is about to change with the upcoming launch of  Visual Studio 2010.  IJI has developed a process template for agile Use case driven development that helps developers adopt Use cases within a Microsoft development environment in an efficient way. Tracking Use cases as requirements items is one thing, but understanding how to develop good Use cases in a light weight fashion is another and this is IJI’s strength and the benefit of IJI collaborating with Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010 launch.

This new process template will give development teams the power to develop new Use cases, report on them and view the complete visual story as the use case develops. The result? A more powerful toolset.

You will be available to download the process template from MSDN at the time of launch. Stay tuned as I’ll definitely provide updates as we get closer to launch. But in the meantime, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic and how you see your team developing use cases with Visual Studio 2010.

You can also read Software Development Times writer David Worthington's recent January 18 article about Visual Studio's ecosystem of partners.

3 Comments
  1. Svante Lidman | January 21, 2010 at 8:32 am Reply

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    Hi Jonathan,

    From the practice/process perspective this work builds on and integrates with our core practices (Use Case Essentials, Iterative Essentials, Team Essentials, and UP Lifecycle). From the other end it builds on the MSF Agile process template which is shipped with VSTS 2010. So there is a similar level of team support as in the standard Microsoft template for some things, such as reporting, agile planning support, standard work items such as bugs and so on. On top of that we have added specific work items to capture use cases as structures of work items. We also have a work item called use case module which is a concept from our Use Case Essentials practice that helps you to “package” the use cases into pieces that are suitable for driving the iterations of your project. We have also the ability to generate the “normal” use case work products in Word such as use case specification documents and so on. Process guidance for all of this is offered by linking into EssWork (our technology for authoring and disseminating practices/processes). Another specific thing we have added is a Dashboard in the project portal that, based on what we call the practice kernel, allows you to track a project on a high level to create internal understanding of where we need to focus but also to report to external stakeholders where we are in the project. Basing this on the practice kernel means that this kind of tracking can be done in the same way for different projects regardless of how they work is done in detail.

    In addition to the descriptions available in our practices (in EssWork) we will have more VSTS specific information that will be shipped with the product describing the complete way or working for the whole team.

    In addition to the actual product documents there will also be technical white papers/articles and videos available directly on the site. This material will become available as we get closer to the launch.

    We have been trialing the process template with a few customers for about 4 months now and have incorporated feedback along the way but overall it has been very positive experience and I am personally excited about that we now are approaching the point when we can make things more generally available.

    If you want to, you can send me your email address and I will make sure that you get notified (not spammed in general) as more material becomes available. You can reach me at at ivarjacobson.com.

    Svante Lidman

  2. Jonathan Kern | January 20, 2010 at 7:15 pm Reply

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    It would be helpful to read more about how this is intended to be used and in what sorts of product owner/developer/team usage scenarios (beyond a solo practitioner).