I've been discussing about whether "logging in" is a use case and I've been wondering: is there some "official" standard where to look up the definition of a use case or what the point of a use case specification is?

  • 2
    Nope, there is no official rigorous definition for terms like that. The best you can hope for are software methodology books that attempt to give a more precise explanation (of which I'm sure there are many).
    – Ixrec
    Jan 22, 2016 at 14:18
  • The point of a use case is to describe... well, a use case, a business scenario which your system enables. If you have a nice, coherent collection of these, you have a good overall description of what your system is supposed to do, which makes it easier to build it, yes? Jan 22, 2016 at 15:10
  • @RobertHarvey The question asks whether or not there's a standard definition for such term in the context of software engineering. I'm not sure how another unofficial definition from you is helping. :/
    – Shoe
    Jan 22, 2016 at 15:13
  • Your last sentence includes the words "what the point of a use case specification is." Jan 22, 2016 at 15:14
  • @RobertHarvey Yes, if you take the words out of context I guess you can create your own question and then your own answer. The same sentence begins with "is there some 'official' standard where to look up..." though.
    – Shoe
    Jan 22, 2016 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


There is a UML specification, published by the OMG, that defines use cases. See section 18 of UML 2.5. However, it's all very technical, and says very little about what use cases are for, or how to identify them.

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  • 1
    And the downside of UML is everyone thinks they understand it but nobody is ever in agreement on how to use it.
    – MetaFight
    Jan 22, 2016 at 16:17
  • @MetaFight - No one agrees on how to use UML in general or they never agree on how to implement a specific case?
    – JeffO
    Jan 22, 2016 at 17:41
  • I've never meet two people who agreed on how to document the same thing in UML.
    – MetaFight
    Jan 22, 2016 at 19:22
  • 3
    Customer, Administrator and Bank are too skinny. Jan 22, 2016 at 19:50
  • @user61852 a classic case of needing more freehand circles.
    – enderland
    Jan 22, 2016 at 20:00

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