Business Policies vs. Business Rules: What’s the Big Difference Anyway?The relevant standard on the question is OMG’s Business Motivation Model (BMM). I prefer the English (not UML) version: http://www.businessrulesgroup.org/second_paper/BRG-BMM.pdf. Business policies and business rules are both ‘elements of guidance’. The difference is that business policies are not practicable, whereas business rules always are. A business rule must be ready to deploy to the business, whether to workers or to IT (i.e., as a ‘requirement’). So business policies must be interpreted and refined to turn them into business rules. An example I often use:
Business Policy: Safety is our first concern.
Business Rule: A hard hat must be worn in a construction site.It’s very important to retain information about these interpretations for the sake of traceability. That’s at the heart of business rule management. Business policies are an integral part of strategy. In general, we find only 2-3% of business rules trace directly back to strategy. But those *core* business rules are very, very important (to enforce and monitor). One last point: Business rules must be expressed in a form that is understandable to business workers (who are authorized and capable). What IT usually specifies or implements as ‘business rules’ aren’t. They might be rules, but not business rules. And what do I mean by “rule”? Exactly what it means in the real world – ‘guide for conduct or action’ (Merriam-Webster Unabridged).