When looking through the portfolio / references of some companies, I sometimes notice the term Use Cases being used to describe projects. Judging by the way these use cases are written, i.e. the tools used, the time it took to complete the project, etc., I would expect them to be a real projects.

But these projects are generally written in a very generic matter and never disclose the actual company involved, like testimonials do.

So, are Use Cases more like fictional example projects, rather than real ones?

  • 3
    An example or two may help us here... – Solar Mike Aug 17 '19 at 8:02
  • Maybe yes, maybe no. There's no laws stating a use case on a website must be a real life example and without a crystal ball we can't tell for sure. – solarflare Aug 19 '19 at 1:30

Use Case in general refers to an example of real usage. The given case might be made-up, but it is supposed to be realistic. Then you can have a use case for some exceptional things, such as analyzing how some error in production happened.

In terms of a portfolio, I would guess it could be an example about what a consultant was hired to fix, and how he analyzed the case to resolve it.

  • Sometimes the information is omitted due to non-disclosure agreements. If I were a company that hired a consultant to work on a project that was critical to me and I found the consultant released the information on the project, I'd sue them to hell and back. – Juliana Karasawa Souza Aug 20 '19 at 10:58

The term use case got its start in the Universal Modeling Language, a formal way of specifying object-oriented projects. Now it's used more broadly in tech.

For example, a Workplace use case is "a site visitor without an account tries to answer a question." This site handles that use case by suggesting the user create an account.

Are use cases in company portfolios fictional? Almost certainly not. They may be generalized to conceal proprietary details.

Use cases often describe subsets of real projects. So, when you see that term in a company portfolio, it's appropriate to ask whether they worked on the whole project or adding features.

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