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Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules

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About the Authors

Ronald G. Ross

Ronald G. Ross

Ronald G. Ross is Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rule Solutions, LLC, where he actively develops and applies the IPSpeak methodology including RuleSpeak®, DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak.

Ron is recognized internationally as the "father of business rules." He is the author of ten professional books including the groundbreaking first book on business rules The Business Rule Book in 1994. His newest are:

Ron serves as Executive Editor of and its flagship publication, Business Rules Journal. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences world-wide. More than 50,000 people have heard him speak; many more have attended his seminars and read his books.

Ron has served as Chair of the annual International Business Rules & Decisions Forum conference since 1997., now part of the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference. He was a charter member of the Business Rules Group (BRG) in the 1980s, and an editor of its Business Motivation Model (BMM) standard and the Business Rules Manifesto. He is active in OMG standards development, with core involvement in SBVR.

Ron holds a BA from Rice University and an MS in information science from Illinois Institute of Technology. For more information about Mr. Ross, visit, which hosts his blog. Tweets: @Ronald_G_Ross

Gladys S.W. Lam

Gladys S.W. Lam Gladys S.W. Lam is a world-renowned authority on business analysis and applied business rule techniques. She is Co-Founder and Principal of Business Rule Solutions, LLC, the most recognized company world-wide for business rule methodology, consulting services, and training. Ms. Lam serves as Publisher of and as Executive Director of the Building Business Capabilities (BBC) Conference. She is a recognized expert on project management and is highly active in consulting, mentoring, and training.

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Building Business Solutions:
Business Analysis with Business Rules

By Ronald G. Ross with Gladys S.W. Lam

An IIBA® Sponsored Handbook

Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules

Format: 304 pages / Paperback
Publisher: Business Rule Solutions, LLC (October 2011)
Sponsored by: IIBA®
ISBN: 978-0-941049-10-8


How can you put the ‘business' into ‘business analysis'?
How do you deliver true value to the business?
What should you be doing before requirements?

Finally, a practical, proven, innovative guide to building great business solutions.

From the IIBA® ...

Kathleen Barret, President & CEO, IIBA®

Kathleen Barret "In November 2009 IIBA® and BRS began what is sure to be the beginning of a wonderful relationship. Together, we are working toward clarifying the critical role that business rules play in effective business analysis.

Business Analysis is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to the business. To deliver the right change, Business Analysts need to understand, capture and formalize the business rules. This IIBA®-sponsored handbook provides a robust framework to help BAs identify business solutions to business problems. It's an important milestone in taking business analysis to the next level."

Kevin Brennan, EVP, Community Development, IIBA®

Kevin Brennan "One of the first lessons I learned as a Business Analyst was that my job wasn't to develop software. Software was a tool to solve business problems, and not always the best or most appropriate tool. However, most books available to Business Analysts have been aimed squarely at improving software requirements. Those that have presented a business-oriented view have focused on only one part of the puzzle, such as business processes, rules, or architecture.

Building Business Solutions presents business analysis professionals with a cohesive, coherent, and powerful approach to solving business problems, and will help them develop the skills required to change their organizations for the better."

Background ...

Re: Business Analysis

Over the past decade, a whole new community of Business Analysts has emerged world-wide. Not all Business Analysts have yet lived up to the "business" part of their title though. And the community has not yet successfully solved the twin challenges of business alignment and business agility. What should business requirements be about anyway?

This book provides detailed answers and tools. It shows you how to bring together business solutions directly with business leads, create blueprints of the solutions, and then use those blueprints for developing system requirements. The techniques described in this book have been applied successfully in hundreds of companies worldwide. Now you can put them to work for you too.

Re: Business Rules

Learn how harvesting business rules can fit seamlessly with requirements development. Use the concise pattern questions presented in this book, fined-tuned during 15 years of real-life experience, as templates to guide you in identifying business rules. As an added bonus, you will be able to sharpen and simplify your business process models by an order of magnitude or more.

Beyond the basics, the book presents the very latest techniques for analysis of operational business decisions, a powerful new area of business analysis. Get started on the right foot in capturing and encoding decision logic separately from other parts of your business solution.

Re: Business Models

What is a true business model? This book provides the definitive answer. It steps you through each element one by one, starting with business strategy for the business solution and then through business process models with business rules externalized. It shows how metrics grounded in these models are identified to ensure continuing alignment with business goals.

To engage business people successfully and to meet today's business challenges, business models should be true-to life. In part this means that detecting violations of business rules and responding to the violations appropriately should be woven into the very fabric of the business model. It also means organizing, applying, managing, and retaining know-how as an integral part of the solution. Here's how you can move beyond information systems to design business governance systems.

Special Features ...

55-page thoroughly annotated glossary ... "We don't just preach standard vocabulary, we practice it too!"

Dozens of pattern questions for harvesting business rules ... Complete with how-to explanation and examples.



  • About the Annotated Glossary
  • About the Tips
  • About the Pattern Questions
  • About the Book’s Scope
  • About “See the Elephant!”

CHAPTER 1: Introduction
Business Analysis with Business Rules

  • Alignment
  • Basic Principles for Business Analysis
  • Change Deployment Hell
  • Business Rules vs Requirements
  • Real Life Begins at Deployment
  • Order-of-Magnitude Improvement in Business Agility

CHAPTER 2: Alignment
What’s Really Needed to Align Business and IT

  • A Cautionary Tale
  • Isn’t There a Better Way?
  • Enter the Policy Charter

CHAPTER 3: Architectural Scope
The Scope Lists

  • Getting Started
  • Architectural Scope vs Project Definition
  • About the Scope Lists
  • About the Scope Items
  • Sizing the Project
  • Managing Architectural Scope

CHAPTER 4: Strategy for the Business Solution
The Policy Charter

  • About Strategy
  • Creating the Strategy
  • Adjusting and Fine-Tuning the Strategy
  • Conflicts, Trade-Offs, and Risk Brackets
  • Remedies
  • Risk Brackets
  • Best Practices for Policy Charters
  • More on the Role of Business Policies in Strategy
  • Gob-Smacked: A Case Study
  • How Long Does It Take to Create a Policy Charter?
  • When is the Strategy ‘Done’?
  • Sample of a Real-Life Strategy Drill-Down

CHAPTER 5: Business Rules
Basic Principles and Pattern Questions

  • Basic Principles for Business Rules
  • Expressing Business Rules
  • Turning Business Policies into Core Business Rules
  • General Pattern Questions for Harvesting Business Rules
  • How the Policy Charter and Business Rules Support Each Other

CHAPTER 6: Business Processes
Better with Business Rules

  • What a Business Process Is
  • The Elements of a Business Process Model
  • Some FAQs about Business Process Models
  • How Does the Policy Charter Help?
  • When is the Business Process Model ‘Done’?

CHAPTER 7: Business Rules From Business Process Models
Pattern Questions

  • Conditional Flows
  • Production and Use of Outputs
  • Inter-Task Timing
  • Timing and Iteration for Loops
  • Events Initiating a Process

CHAPTER 8: Structured Business Vocabulary
The Fact Model

  • About Structured Business Vocabularies (Fact Models)
  • About Operational Business Things
  • About Structure: Verb Concepts
  • Special-Purpose Elements of Structure
  • Using Graphical Fact Models
  • When is the Fact Model ‘Done’?

CHAPTER 9: Business Rules from the Fact Model
Pattern Questions

  • Categories
  • Connection Counts
  • Conditional Connection Counts and Restrictions on Facts
  • Specific Instances
  • Mutually-Exclusive Connections and Connection Cycles
  • Volume Limits

CHAPTER 10: Business Milestones
The Life of Operational Business Things

  • The Happy Life
  • Using Fact Types and Roles to Represent States
  • Unhappy Business Milestones
  • Expressing Business Rules for States
  • When are Business Milestone Models ‘Done’?

CHAPTER 11: Business Rules from Business Milestone Models
Pattern Questions

CHAPTER 12: Decision Analysis
Capturing Decision Logic

  • What Decision Analysis Is
  • The Basic Elements of Operational Business Decisions
  • Naming Operational Business Decisions
  • Defining the Scope of Decision Analysis
  • Considerations and Exceptions
  • Divide and Conquer

CHAPTER 13: Modeling Decisions

  • Decision Dependency
  • Q-Charts vs Business Process Models

CHAPTER 14: Modeling Know-How
True-to-Life Business Models

  • Behavioral Rules vs Decision Rules
  • Flash Points
  • How to Assemble Know-How: Case Study
  • Business Rules in Real Life
  • Back to Decision Analysis
  • When Operational Business Decisions Should Be Made

CHAPTER 15: More on Business Rules and Their

  • Final Areas of Analysis
  • Business Rules about Business Organization
  • Business Rules about Business Geography
  • Enforcement Specifications for Behavioral Rules
  • When Is Your Working Set of Business Rules ‘Done’?

CHAPTER 16: Metrics
Measuring Business Performance

  • Strategy-Based Performance Metrics
  • Performance Metrics for Business Processes
  • When Are Metrics ‘Done’?

CHAPTER 17: Understanding Business Requirements
Business Model vs System Model

  • What Business Requirements Are About
  • What Business Requirements and Ability Statements Should Cover
  • Requirements are Rules: True or False?
  • When Are Business Requirements ‘Done’?

CHAPTER 18: Developing Business Requirements
Ability Statements

  • Ability Statements from the Basic Engineering Question How
  • Ability Statements from the Basic Engineering Question Who
  • Ability Statements from Analysis of Business Rule Enforcement
  • Ability Statements from the Basic Engineering Question Where
  • Ability Statements from the Basic Engineering Question When
  • Ability Statements from the Basic Engineering Question What

CHAPTER 19: Smart Systems
Ability Statements for Know-How

  • Ability Statements from Decision Analysis
  • Ability Statements from Analysis of Flash Points
  • Decision Logic Based on Flash Points

CHAPTER 20: Rulebook Management
Now the Life Cycle of Business Rules Begins

  • Why Rulebook Management
  • Best Practices for Rulebook Management
  • When Is Rulebook Management ‘Done’?

Annotated Glossary




Now available in Japanese

Build Business Solutions - Japanese Edition Click to order your copy from Amazon.

"... readable, well-organized.. totally analysis, not notation guide."

Hiroshi Miyazaki, Fujitsu ...



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