The Agile Modeling (AM) Method

UML Stereotypes: Diagramming Style Guidelines

A stereotype denotes a variation on an existing modeling element with the same form but with a modified intent. Stereotypes are effectively used to extend the UML in a consistent manner.
Figure 1. Indicating stereotypes.
Figure 2. A frame encompassing a sequence diagram.

  1. Name Stereotypes in <> and <> format.
  2. List Stereotypes Last. In Figure 1 the second version of the Customer class lists the stereotypes for its operations after the operation signature, not before it.
  3. Don’t Indicate Assumed Stereotypes. In Figure 1 I dropped the <> stereotype because it is common practice to assume that unless marked otherwise that a class is a business domain one.
  4. Prefer Naming Conventions over Stereotypes. For example, instead of applying the stereotype <> on an operation, you could simply start all getters with the text get. This simplifies your diagrams and increases the consistency of your source code. Normally would have ditched <> in Figure 1 but I left it there for the discussion of Tagged Values Follow Stereotypes.
  5. Tagged Values Follow Stereotypes.
  6. Center Classifier Stereotypes. The stereotype for a classifier, such as the Customer class in Figure 1 should be centered (as should the name itself).
  7. Introduce New Stereotypes Sparingly.
  8. Apply Stereotypes Consistently.
  9. Apply Visual Stereotypes Sparingly. Figure 2 depicts a sequence diagram which includes the standard robustness diagram symbols which are commonly applied to UML communication diagrams.

Recommended Reading

Modeling style: Elements of UML 2.0 Style The Elements of UML 2.0 Style describes a collection of standards, conventions, and guidelines for creating effective UML diagrams. They are sound, proven strategies that lead to diagrams that are easier to understand and work with. These conventions exist as a collection of simple, concise guidelines that if applied consistently, represent an important first step in increasing your productivity as a modeler. This book is oriented towards intermediate to advanced UML modelers. Although there are numerous examples throughout the book it would not be a good way to learn the UML (instead, consider The Object Primer). The book is 188 pages long and is conveniently pocket-sized so it’s easy to carry around.
Choose Your WoW! 2nd Edition This book, Choose Your WoW! A Disciplined Agile Approach to Optimizing Your Way of Working (WoW) – Second Edition, is an indispensable guide for agile coaches and practitioners. It overviews key aspects of the Disciplined Agile® (DA™) tool kit. Hundreds of organizations around the world have already benefited from DA, which is the only comprehensive tool kit available for guidance on building high-performance agile teams and optimizing your WoW. As a hybrid of the leading agile, lean, and traditional approaches, DA provides hundreds of strategies to help you make better decisions within your agile teams, balancing self-organization with the realities and constraints of your unique enterprise context.
The Object Primer 3rd Edition: Agile Model Driven Development (AMDD) with UML 2 The Object Primer 3rd Edition: Agile Model Driven Development with UML 2 is an important reference book for agile modelers, describing how to develop 35 types of agile models including all 13 UML 2 diagrams. Furthermore, this book describes the fundamental programming and testing techniques for successful agile solution delivery. The book also shows how to move from your agile models to source code, how to succeed at implementation techniques such as refactoring and test-driven development(TDD). The Object Primer also includes a chapter overviewing the critical database development techniques (database refactoringobject/relational mappinglegacy analysis, and database access coding) from my award-winning Agile Database Techniques book.