A Follow-Up Note to Business Analysts about ‘Decision’In a recent blog post I called attention to the fact that there’s a major collision of terminology with respect to the term decision as used by different communities. See: http://www.brsolutions.com/2014/07/06/a-note-to-business-analysts-about-%e2%80%98decision%e2%80%99/ My basic observation was that both communities are correct in their own context – but since the contexts intersect the result is a significant potential for confusion.
- Business Analyst Community. Decision is often used in talking about business analysts’ own work – i.e., what methods to use, go/no-go on change, tool selection, choice of elicitation approach, etc. Its usage also seems to cover the sense of “management decision” – e.g., what course should project work take.
- General Business Community. Decision always refers to a determination in business activity – e.g., should this applicant be given a mortgage, what should be charged for shipping an order, etc. This is the focus of decision in the business rules / decision engineering community.
|Time Horizon of Decision||
General Business Community
Business Analysis Community
|strategic business decision||strategic project decision or change initiative decision or option analysis|
|operational business decision||—|
- Is highly repetitive (100s, 1000s, or more per day, hour, etc.).
- Can be encoded as practicable business rules.
An activity to answer a question or select an option from a known or knowable set of possible options. Typically defined in terms of business rules and made in response to events or at defined points in a business process.
- The first part of the definition is reasonable for decision in any usage. It applies to both communities and to any time horizon.
- The second part of the definition pertains only to the meaning of operational business decision. Strategic decisions, whether for the General Business Community or for the Business Analysis Community, are generally not based on specific business rules and are not made in response to events or at defined points in a business process. Strategic decisions are simply different in kind from operational business decisions.
- General Business Community: The focus is on conducting future business in a certain way.
- Business Analysis Community. The focus is on conducting a proposed initiative in a certain way to change the business itself.