3.24 Barlach, A. and J. Simonsen (2008): "Effect specifications as an Alternative to Use Cases", in Asproth, A, K. Axelsson, S.C. Holmberg, C. Ihlström, and B. Sundgren (Eds.): Proceedings of the 31st Information Systems Research Seminar in Scandinavia, IRIS 31, Public systems in the future – possibilities, challenges and pitfalls, Åre, Sweden, August 10-13, 2008.


This article reports from an experiment where use-cases were replaced with effect specifications during the cooperative configuration and implementation of a health care IT system supporting new Health Centres in Copenhagen. While use-cases describe the users interaction with the it-system, effect specifications focus on the user’s intended effect from using the IT system – without necessarily specifying this system in any detail. We compare and discuss the differences that we observed when using effect specifications to support communication in a distributed configuration process constituted by three different roles: The user, the configurator, and the developer. We conclude that effect specifications might be instrumental in supporting the articulation of cooperative work between these three roles and that they further support a shift in the translation of overall user needs to system functionality from the user towards the vendor.