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Business Rules Manifesto FAQ #1 – The *Business Rules Mantra*

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Business Rules Manifesto http://www.businessrulesgroup.org/brmanifesto.htm Question: What does the business rules ‘mantra’ mean? The traditional business rule mantra, a central idea of business rules, dates back to at least the mid-1990s. It is expressed in the Business Rules Manifesto (Article 3.1) this way:

Rules build on facts, and facts build on concepts as expressed by terms.

Perhaps not obvious in the statement is the insistence on declarative expression of business rules. When business rules are expressed declaratively, no meaning (semantics) can be hidden in the sequence of the statements (“in between the lines”). Literally, you can read the statements in any order, and get the same meaning. The liberation of business rules from procedural means of capture and expression (e.g., processes, procedures, use cases, etc.) means that each statement can be validated on its own merit. It also produces the highest degree of reusability (for the business rules). The importance of ‘rule independence’ is expressed by the subtitle of the Manifesto: The Principles of Rule Independence. What do you get when you express business rules declaratively? Encoded knowledge, or as I prefer to say, know-how. The importance of capturing and retaining core business knowledge (know-how) is even more urgent today than when the Manifesto was written in 2002. It is emphasized by the heading of Article 3: Deliberate Knowledge, Not a By-Product (of requirements and IT development). Additional Note: In early 2012, SBVR was revised to focus more directly on real-world language and concepts (always its original intent)[1]. So the Mantra today would be more accurately expressed:

Business rules are based on verb concepts, as expressed by wordings. Verb concepts are based on noun concepts as designated by terms and names.

Literally, you need nouns and verbs to write sentences. A good business rule statement is always a sentence.      

[1]For discussion, see ‘Concept Model’ vs. ‘Fact Model’ … Where in the World are the Instances? http://goo.gl/Oz6UA.

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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.