Skip to main content

CRUD is Crud

When documenting use cases for a software product, some product managers specify ones such as:
Create Employee
Retrieve Employee
Update Employee
Delete Employee
Such functions are called "CRUD" use cases. If your product manager is specifying CRUD use cases in market requirements documents, your product manager probably doesn't understand requirements.

Recall that use cases represent functional requirements insofar as they convey user goals. In the example above, users enter and view information about employees. But what is the user's goal? Why on Earth would anyone want to enter information about an employee?

Users actually don't want to enter such information. The user wants the information to be accurate and up to date and probably to be able to examine it. But creating, updating, and deleting employees is a burden to the user. A fantasy solution would obviate the need for the user to enter such information. Therefore, the Create Employee, Update Employee, and Delete Employee use cases are not requirements and need not appear in requirements documents.

Enabling users of a product to perform CRUD functionality is sometimes the most realistic design choice. Specifying such a design in terms of use cases is helpful. However, chances are that the appearance of CRUD in a requirements document suggests your product manager doesn't understand the distinction between requirements and design.

Comments

Scott Sehlhorst said…
The "fantasy solution" is a great idea for making sure that you aren't specifying implementation details within the spec.

If I say thanks, will using this meme in my work still count as stealing?

Scott
Roger L. Cauvin said…
Not at all. I'd be flattered, Scott.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Spreadsheets Suck for Prioritizing

The Goal As a company executive, you want confidence that your product team (which includes all the people, from all departments, responsible for product success) has a sound basis for deciding which items are on the product roadmap. You also want confidence the team is prioritizing the items in a smart way. What Should We Prioritize? The items the team prioritizes could be features, user stories, epics, market problems, themes, or experiments. Melissa Perri  makes an excellent case for a " problem roadmap ", and, in general, I recommend focusing on the latter types of items. However, the topic of what types of items you should prioritize - and in what situations - is interesting and important but beyond the scope of this blog entry. A Sad but Familiar Story If there is significant controversy about priorities, then almost inevitably, a product manager or other member of the team decides to put together The Spreadsheet. I've done it. Some of the mos

Use Case as a Black Box

Consider the following use case: Purchase Items Actor: Purchaser Precondition: Purchaser types at least thirty words per minute and has a web navigation efficiency rating of at least 40. Postcondition: For the average Purchaser acting at full efficiency, the number of seconds elapsed is no more than 30 + 20 * n, where n is the number of items purchased. The name of the use case represents a functional requirement. What does the product do, or enable the user to do? Purchase items. What are we to make of the preconditions and postconditions? What relationship do they have to the requirements for the product? Answer: the preconditions and postconditions are the nonfunctional requirements attached to the functional requirement . Another way of expressing the nonfunctional requirement would be as an attribute and associated constraint: Usability: For a Purchaser who types at least thirty words per minute and has a web navigation efficiency rating of at least 40, it shall take no

Henry Ford's "Faster Horse" Quote

You may have heard the ( apocryphal ) Henry Ford quote: If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have said "a faster horse". Over at the On Product Management blog , Saeed gives his take on this infamous quote. He "hates" it, and gives some compelling reasons. Saeed is spot on in his explanations. Personally, I think the quote is great, but it's a matter of interpretation. The valid point of the quote is not that it's a bad idea to facilitate a conversation with your market to better understand it. The valid points are: You must ask the right questions to get valuable answers. You must interpret the answers thoughtfully - often outside their direct meaning - to glean reliable information. Asking questions is not always the best way to "listen" to your market. (E.g., sometimes pure observational studies are more reliable.) Nonetheless, I find the quote is helpful to combat "armchair product management" in the