Using SketchFlow as tool during Analysis

I have been a fan of SketchFlow from the beginning. It’s one of those tools that is just ridiculously useful in so many ways. It truly is a game changer which is why we even see HTML-based software shops using it to rapidly prototype and capture feedback on their solutions.

I wanted to highlight one of my favorite (and most notably unsung) features of SketchFlow–that is–visual tagging. When in analyze and I am sitting down with the BAs of the team trying to figure out how process flows and business requirements are going to map into physical screens I start by creating each major use case as a screen. Not because the application is going to have some weird blank screen whose page title is the use case name but it helps to create a swim lane within the SketchMap of what screens are key players of the corresponding business process.

Then I use blue to stub out all of the primary happy path screens that we are going to step through in order to facilitate that use case.

Finally, I speckle on the optional or alternate flows using yellow. This calls them out so that these screens are clearly cited as having specific business rules that trigger their injection into the flow.

The swim lanes concept is a loose one. I do not attempt use case containment. If one use case feeds into portions of another, so be it. In fact, this almost always happens. I don’t re-create screens artificially for the swim lane. I just add a navigation link from source use case into the screen where it merges with the target use case. I think this effectively shows an inventory of high level components (MVVM) that will need to be estimated and designed.

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