Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence


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5 Basic Criteria for Great Business Definitions

criteriaDefinitions of business terms with subtle IT or ‘data’ bias are an anathema to effective communication with business partners. Good business definitions are oriented to what words mean when used by real business people talking directly about real business things.

Here are 5 basic criteria for great business definitions:


  1. It should be easy to give examples for the thing defined, but there should be no counterexamples.
  2. Each definition should communicate the essence of what a thing is, not what it does, how it’s used, or why it’s important.
  3. The definition of a thing should focus on its unique characteristics.
  4. Each thing you define should be distinguishable from every other thing you define using the definition alone.
  5. Each definition should be concise and as short as possible without loss of meaning. A definition should be readable.

One thing may surprise you about great business definitions. The very first noun in each definition is absolutely key. These first words are the secret sauce of excellent business definitions. Read more in our new Primer (free download).


Extracted from: How to Define Business Terms in Plain English, by Ronald G. Ross – free download, 26pp, pdf, http://www.brsolutions.com/publications/crafting-definitions-a-primer/

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Ronald G. Ross

Ron Ross, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rules Solutions, LLC, is internationally acknowledged as the “father of business rules.” Recognizing early on the importance of independently managed business rules for business operations and architecture, he has pioneered innovative techniques and standards since the mid-1980s. He wrote the industry’s first book on business rules in 1994.