TL;DR; Use cases are higher level and describes to the user what a feature/story does and the user story describes how the system solves this need.

My team is currently fleshing out some new features for the next version of our software and this morning I started thinking, how should we actually do this. We’ve got a rough idea about what we want done but how can we communicate this to everyone involved in the right level. We need to be able to tell our stakeholders what we’re going to do without getting bogged down in details on exactly how we will do it. Not to mention, until we know how we will do it we can’t prioritize and decide which of the how’s we’re going to do. So, how do we put this into text and communicate?

Googling user stories and how to write them I ended up instead reading about what differs use cases from user stories. We’ve used the latter when sprinting and it seemed interesting that people were actually discussing the difference between the two so here’s my summary of it, as far as I understood it.

user stories and use cases

Simplified, they overlap quite a bit however use cases are written more from the perspective of the user where we talk about the motives of wanting to do something whilst the user story talks more in detail about how the future system will implement the capability to solve this need. Across these two we need to have additional acceptance criteria to cover the things that aren’t in detail related to either but still needs to be in there, things such as “we need to be able to process card payments” or “it’ll have to run on both unix and windows”. That could be everything from non-functional requirements to implicitly understood things such as that after a transaction is completed x, y and z needs to happen.

So for me, I’ll be trying out going from the one to the other now to see if that can help us explore and prioritize our next job batch.