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

TURNING OPERATIONAL KNOWLEDGE & COMPLIANCE INTO A COMPETITIVE EDGE

We systemize tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge

Blog Enabling Operational Excellence

Working with Business Rules: Capture, Specification, Analysis & Management

Location: Online Seminar Overview Do your business processes always produce correct and consistent results? If not the problem probably lies with your business rules and decision logic. Business Analysts need the right techniques to fix these problems – process models, use cases, data models and other requirement techniques just aren’t right for the job. This hands-on series will equip you with proven techniques for success. More info: http://www.attainingedge.com/online-training-business-rule-analysis-masterclass.php Register for full series!

Session 1. The why, what and who of business rules

Next Session: October 1, 2013 @ 10:30am – 12:00noon (ET)

  • Why business rules
  • What benefits you can achieve
  • What business rules are, and are not
  • Business rules vs. business processes
  • Kinds of business rules: definitional vs. behavioral
  • How the business should react to violations
  • Business rules and decisions
  • What skills you need to capture business rules effectively
  • What you need to know
Register Session!

Session 2. Eight steps to find and capture business rules

Next Session:October 1, 2013 @ 3:30pm – 5:00pm (ET)

  • Capturing business rules from people’s heads
  • Capturing business rules from great big documents
  • Using facilitated sessions
  • Step-by-step approach
  • What about reverse-engineering business rules from code
  • Do’s and don’ts
Register Session!

Session 3. Eight steps to express clear business rules

Next Session: October 2, 2013 @ 10:30am – 12:00noon (ET)

  • Business policies vs. practicable guidance vs. automated rules
  • The role of business vocabulary
  • Step-by-step approach
  • Clarity and completeness
  • Eliminating ambiguity
  • Addressing exceptions
  • Guidelines
  • What to avoid and why
Register Session!

Session 4. How to analyze and communicate business rules

Next Session: October 2, 2013 @ 3:30pm – 5:00pm (ET)

  • Basic principles for rule analysis
  • Rule quality
  • Handling conflicts
  • Developing business reactions to violations
  • Simplification – When, why and for whom
  • How to validate business rules with business people and SMEs
  • Verification – Examples
Register Session!

Session 5. Eight steps to set-up decision tables

Next Session: October 3, 2013 @ 10:30am – 12:00noon (ET)

  • When to use decision tables
  • How to set up decision tables
  • Decision tables and business process models
  • What your decision tables should not do
  • Decision tables and business vocabulary
  • Best practices
  • Alternative formats
  • Completeness, subsumption and conflicts
Register Session!

Session 6. Ten steps to start or refine your business rules projects

Next Session: October 3, 2013 @ 3:30pm – 5:00pm (ET)

  • Business rules and requirements
  • Properties of business rules
  • Traceability of business rules
  • Retaining corporate memory
  • Managing the life cycle of business rules
  • Business rule management – examples
  • Business rules and rule engines – implementation examples
  • How to get started
Register Session!

Continue Reading

Is a Decision-Based Approach Sufficient for Business Rules?

Consider the following example.

Behavioral Rule: A student with a failing grade must not be an active member of a sports team.

This business rule:    
  • Is not about selecting the most appropriate sports team for a student – i.e., not about the decision, Which sport team is best for a student?.
  • Does not apply only at a single point of determination – e.g., when a student joins a team.
Instead, the business rule is meant to be enforced continuously – for example, if a student who is already active on some sports team should let his or her grades fall. What’s the business decision for when a student’s grades fall and they should be taken off a team? Be real, there’s no good answer to that question. This example is no outlier. Businesses have 1,000s of behavioral rules like this. Let’s be clear – I believe a business-decision-based approach is very powerful for decision rules. I have written much about that. And I don’t disagree that many business-rule projects have floundered due to lack of pragmatic organizing principles (e.g., “decisions”). But if you take a decision approach to behavioral business rules, either it will prove woefully incomplete with respect to integrity, or you’ll quickly start to drown in (system-level) decisions. In my opinion, an application that has to be designed and to operate to treat violations of behavioral rules as just more decisions is not a smart enough system. The detection of violation events for behavioral rules can be, and should be, completely under the covers (identified, detected and supported by a platform). Otherwise the solution won’t scale. And there will be so many decision dependencies it will steal from the very real value of a business-decision-based approach. This frankly is a sign of immaturity … or lack of imaginative leadership … or IT bias … or whatever … in some parts of the decision-model community. The detection of a violation of a behavioral rule is an event, not a decision. A business decision is a business decision; a system decision is … well … why even go there?! P.S. There are 3 specific examples and more complete discussion about this topic on http://goo.gl/NCnLi.      

Continue Reading 5 Comments

Why can’t standards use the real-world meaning of ‘decision’?

A person close to the DMN (Decision Model Notation) standard recently wrote about its definition of “decision”: “This means a technical rather than business-person definition of ‘decision’, as the businessperson is not the target audience for the specification (metamodel) but of the results of the specification (models).” My Response Well, that’s a shame. Many people will be looking toward the DMN for a business vocabulary they can use in communicating with business people. So the communication gap between IT and business is not being closed in the area. My personal opinion is:
  • Computers have become so powerful these days that they should be speaking *our* language (in structured, carefully defined form), not the other way around.
  • Standards (and standards organizations) that fail to move the ball forward in that regard are failing its audience in the larger sense, no matter how good the standard for its chosen area. (And I do hope DMN is good in that latter sense.)

Continue Reading

Business Rule Analysis: Practitioner MasterClass Series

Location: Online Seminar Overview Do your business processes always produce correct and consistent results? If not the problem probably lies with your business rules and decision logic. Business Analysts need the right techniques to fix these problems – process models, use cases, data models and other requirement techniques just aren’t right for the job. This hands-on series will equip you with proven techniques for success. More info: http://www.attainingedge.com/online-training-business-rule-analysis-masterclass.php Register for full series!

Session 1. The why, what and who of business rules

Next Session: October 1, 2013 @ 10:30am – 12:00noon (ET)

  • Why business rules
  • What benefits you can achieve
  • What business rules are, and are not
  • Business rules vs. business processes
  • Kinds of business rules: definitional vs. behavioral
  • How the business should react to violations
  • Business rules and decisions
  • What skills you need to capture business rules effectively
  • What you need to know
Register Session!

Session 2. Eight steps to find and capture business rules

Next Session:October 1, 2013 @ 3:30pm – 5:00pm (ET)

  • Capturing business rules from people’s heads
  • Capturing business rules from great big documents
  • Using facilitated sessions
  • Step-by-step approach
  • What about reverse-engineering business rules from code
  • Do’s and don’ts
Register Session!

Session 3. Eight steps to express clear business rules

Next Session: October 2, 2013 @ 10:30am – 12:00noon (ET)

  • Business policies vs. practicable guidance vs. automated rules
  • The role of business vocabulary
  • Step-by-step approach
  • Clarity and completeness
  • Eliminating ambiguity
  • Addressing exceptions
  • Guidelines
  • What to avoid and why
Register Session!

Session 4. How to analyze and communicate business rules

Next Session: October 2, 2013 @ 3:30pm – 5:00pm (ET)

  • Basic principles for rule analysis
  • Rule quality
  • Handling conflicts
  • Developing business reactions to violations
  • Simplification – When, why and for whom
  • How to validate business rules with business people and SMEs
  • Verification – Examples
Register Session!

Session 5. Eight steps to set-up decision tables

Next Session: October 3, 2013 @ 10:30am – 12:00noon (ET)

  • When to use decision tables
  • How to set up decision tables
  • Decision tables and business process models
  • What your decision tables should not do
  • Decision tables and business vocabulary
  • Best practices
  • Alternative formats
  • Completeness, subsumption and conflicts
Register Session!

Session 6. Ten steps to start or refine your business rules projects

Next Session: October 3, 2013 @ 3:30pm – 5:00pm (ET)

  • Business rules and requirements
  • Properties of business rules
  • Traceability of business rules
  • Retaining corporate memory
  • Managing the life cycle of business rules
  • Business rule management – examples
  • Business rules and rule engines – implementation examples
  • How to get started
Register Session!

Continue Reading

Announcing New Online Interactive Training: Decision Analysis & Decision Tables: All About Modeling Decisions

  Location: Online Interactive Training Why Attend … Working on developing requirements? Wrestling with complex business process models? Harvesting business rules to implement in a rules engine? Many professionals are finding there are big gaps in their current approaches:
  • Their requirements methodology fails to capture and specify decision logic.
  • Their business process models mangle the logic for making decisions.
  • Their decision management platforms support implementation but don’t connect to the business.
This training provides proven, pragmatic solutions. It provides 8 easy steps so you can think clearly before you implement. More info:  http://www.attainingedge.com/online-training-decision-analysis-and-decision-tables.php Register for full series!

Session 1. Business-Friendly Decision Analysis

Next Session: November 20, 2013 @ 10:30am – 12:00noon (ET)

  • Why decision analysis
  • What decisions and decision logic are about
  • The elements of decisions
  • Using DecisionSpeak to ask the right questions
  • Diagramming decision structures (Q-Charts)
  • Question, considerations, outcomes, and exceptions (Q-COEs)
  • What kinds of business rules are suited for decision analysis – and which are not
Register Session 1

Session 2. Analyzing Decisions and Developing Decision Structures

Next Session: November 20, 2013 @ 3:30pm – 5:00pm (ET)

  • How to establish and refine scope for decision analysis
  • Identifying exceptions
  • Delineating subdecisions
  • Kinds of decision dependencies
  • Hybrid dependency diagrams
  • Critical success factors for conducting decision analysis

Session 3. Designing Decision Tables

Next Session: November 21, 2013 @ 10:30am – 12:00noon (ET)

  • How to keep decision tables as simple as possible
  • How to maintain business alignment
  • How to set-up decision tables using TableSpeak
  • When to use which format when
  • Completeness, anomalies and certainty of outcome
  • Vocabulary, integrity (correctness) and validity
  • Pitfalls
  • Best practices

Session 4.Beginning-to-End Decision Analysis

Next Session: November 21, 2013 @ 3:30pm – 5:00pm (ET)

  • 7 steps from initiation to testing
  • Roles and responsibilities for each step
  • What to watch out for in interpreting from sources
  • Sample deliverables
  • How to develop scenarios for testing
  • Complete case studies
  • Implementation: highlighting 3 business rule and decision management platforms

Continue Reading

Calling everything a decision? That does no more good than calling everything ‘thing’!

A decision management tool vendor recently wrote:

“The relation between business rules and decisions is I think pretty well agreed by all – it’s just that some focus on 1 or the other, and some both – any “disagreement” is more on the value in the different approaches.”

I respectfully disagree (strongly).  There are fundamental differences between decision rules and behavioral rules including these: 1. Behavioral rules are usually one of a kind. They don’t fit in decision tables. Some might appear in decision models if you are concerned about such things as integrity (will the DMN standard be?), but the large majority don’t. 2. Decisions are generally single point of determination for any given real-world case. Most behavioral rules are multi point of determination, meaning they could be violated under quite different circumstances. 3. The detection of violations of behavioral rules should be automatic and event-based. There’s no “decision” involved in the detection … it should be automatic. (This is where the current generation of rule engines … mostly based on 1980s expert-system thinking … fall woefully short. It’s also probably one reason they haven’t become more mainstream in industry mindshare.) 4. Behavioral rules generally have a different source than decision rules … laws, regulations, contracts, agreements, deals, certifications, warranties … and business policies. Decision rules sometimes arise from those sources, but if so, have limited coverage. Decision rules in contrast often arise from the heads of knowledge workers and inspection of big data and event streams. (Behavioral rules do too, but likewise don’t begin to cover everything.) So the issue is by no means simply a “matter of approach”. Spinning it that way might be useful for vendors, but it won’t be helpful to business analysts. We need to think soberly about the true range of business rules and the fundamental distinctions that exist. If not people will end up very frustrated on the other side of the DMN hype cycle. We can do better than that, and for the sake of the DMN standard, we should. P.S. For discussion and examples of the fundamental distinction between behavioral rules and decision rules see Appendix 3 in the DecisionSpeak Primer … available for free download on http://www.brsolutions.com/b_ipspeakprimers.php.  By the way, DecisionSpeak and its companion TableSpeak are *quite* concerned about integrity in decision models.

Continue Reading

Will Decision Models Supplant Business Rules?

The answer is no, but read on. RuleSpeak 3.0 featuring tabulation was just recently released. See http://www.brsolutions.com/b_ipspeakprimers.php (free download). RuleSpeak is structured natural language for expressing business rules in the clearest way possible, yet very precisely. I know some people argue that decision models will supplant the need to express any and all individual business rules. Pardon me, but that’s either highly uninformed or not-so-innocently misleading. Having said that, do I think there’s much to be gained from decision analysis and a revival of decision tables (a very old technique)? Absolutely. We’ve been busy fine-tuning methods for a good number of years. I’m glad we waited. The results speak for themselves. See the new DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak (free downloads) on that same webpage. All 3 ‘Speaks’ are highly complementary … as of course they should be! You need all these tools to be successful with business rules. By the way, all 3 ‘Speaks’ are business-oriented and tool-independent … as they should be(!).

Continue Reading

Open Letter re: Decision Models

written in response to Jacob Feldman: http://www.brsolutions.com/2013/05/07/response-to-decisionspeak-tablespeak-annnouncement/ Jacob, Thanks! And I agree with you about the ‘executable’ part. Our emphasis is on business-friendly, business-driven models. I believe DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak move things forward significantly in that regard. There’s no reason why decision models have to be oriented to IT development. If they are robust, they will nonetheless be executable. I would sound a note of caution. Decision models are no silver bullet. There are issues of semantics (vocabulary) and integrity (restrictions) to be addressed. And they don’t cover even the majority of all business rules – especially behavioral rules. If you throw everything you (should) know about business rules out the window when you use decision models, you will be in for a very rude awaking. I’m glad we did not rush to the market. We’ve taken our time to do our homework with respect to theory (which has been out there for a great many years) and to hone our approach in real-life consulting work. I think the results speak for themselves!

Continue Reading

Response to DecisionSpeak / TableSpeak Announcement

guest post by Jacob Feldman First of all, congratulations on your new Primers that provide very detailed convention sets for the decision management domain. I quote from your documents: * DecisionSpeak™, a set of conventions for expressing the meaning of operational business decisions. * TableSpeak™ is a set of conventions for business-friendly representation of decision tables and their meaning (semantics) in declarative fashion. Naturally, my first thought is: can we make these conventions EXECUTABLE? More precisely: Can we help subject matter experts (not programmers) to: – create documents that follow these conventions? – automatically validate (enforce) compliance to these conventions? – execute the compliant documents? After a quick walking through the documents, I think the answers are YES. We, at OpenRules, should be able to build OpenRules templates (in Excel) that supports these conventions and to direct users how to apply these templates to create, validate, and execute concrete decisions, decision tables, and other types of rules. There are certainly many details how better to address certain constructions described in TableSpeak™, but they all look solvable to me. Previously, we provided a similar implementation as soon as another decision modeling methodology (TDM) was published. Now we are working with James Taylor making business requirements created by his newest DecisionFirst Modeler executable. As you know, OpenRules is also working on a reference implementation for the DMN as this standard comes to the age. It would be only natural to provide support for the IPSpeak™ methodology. Based on our previous positive experience working with you, Gladys, and other experts from BRS, I am looking forward to making IPSpeak™ executable. http://openrules.com

Continue Reading 1 Comment

Looking to Find Out What Decision Analysis is About? Make Business Processes & Business Architectures Smart? Design Business-Friendly Decision Tables? Write Business-Friendly Business Rules? >>> Free downloads …

As part of the April announcement of the new 4th edition of my book Business Rule Concepts: Getting to the Point of Knowledge, I’m pleased to make available some additional complementary (and complimentary!) downloads: Decision Analysis – A Primer: How to Use DecisionSpeak and Question Charts (Q-Charts) – 49pp http://www.brsolutions.com/IPSpeakPrimers (free) Decision Tables – A Primer: How to Use TableSpeak – 121pp http://www.brsolutions.com/IPSpeakPrimers (free) Tabulation of Lists in Rulespeak®: A Primer Using “The Following” Clause – 16pp http://www.brsolutions.com/IPSpeakPrimers (free) We’ve comprehensively written-up state-of-the-art experience and insight in these important areas. I hope you will make the most of them! P.S. Do have a look at other items of interest: http://goo.gl/WPV7O  

Continue Reading

Our Clients

[cycloneslider id="our-clients"]