Behavioral Model for Software Requirements: Definition & Example

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

In this lesson, we'll take a look at the behavioral model in requirements gathering by defining it, evaluating use cases, identifying events, explaining state representations, and seeing an example of a state diagram. In the end, you should come away with a solid understanding of these concepts.

Consider the Users

We live in a world where our behaviors govern all. Think about it! The things we do and say affect those around us, who, in turn, affect those around them, and so on. It's a complex set of interactions to be sure, but it exists nonetheless. It makes sense then that if we want to create a software system that works well with the intended users, it should incorporate user behavior patterns in its design. But how do we do that? How do we ensure that the requirements for the system match up with user expectations and behaviors? One way is to incorporate user behavior into the requirement gathering process.

What is the Behavioral Model for Requirements Gathering?

Requirements Gathering is the process of documenting the capabilities that a software system will provide. Think of it as creating a 'To Do' list of operations the software will incorporate. The Behavioral Model bases the gathered requirements on user interactions with the system (represented as use cases which we'll talk about in the next section) instead of formulas, rules, and process flow (which are functional in nature). This is an important distinction because it shifts the focus of the requirements from the operations the software can perform, to the behaviors the user expects and exhibits when operating the system.

How Do you Evaluate a Use Case?

A Use Case is a description of an action, taken by a particular user(s), related to a specific goal. For example, consider a simple Instant Messaging application, and the user that initiates an exchange of messages (sender). A use case for the sender might be 'sender sends message.' To evaluate this use case, a review is commonly used. In a review, the development team sits down with the stakeholders and they carefully examine the use case. They look for completeness and accuracy. If they don't find what they are looking for, changes are made.

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