The subtitle of my Business Rules Concepts
handbook (now in its 3rd
edition) is ‘Getting to the Point of Knowledge’. I wasn’t trying to be cute, I meant it literally.
Here’s an example. Try entering a URL in a LinkedIn invitation. I don’t know if it’s a new business rule or not, but I tried it for the very first time just the other day to point someone in the right direction on an EA question. Not allowed. I didn’t know that. I was informed and now I’m a wiser member of the social community.
This is an example of what in our new book ‘Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules
’ (Oct, 2011) we call real-time business operation systems
(BOS). It takes a just-in-time (JIT) approach to the delivery of know-how. (A business rule always encodes know-how.) In my LinkedIn experience I was informed of the latest business rule in-line in a self-service, JIT manner. Violate business rules (the latest one or any
of them) and if you’re authorized and capable, you’ll get back a ‘training’ message. Here’s what LinkedIn said back to me:
We’re sorry, you cannot include website addresses in invitations. Please remove the website address and try again.
Here’s a more direct statement of the business rule in RuleSpeak
: A LinkedIn invitation must not include a URL.
The RuleSpeak version conveys the same information as the LinkedIn message, just more succinctly. As I’ve been saying since at least 1994, the business rule statement is
the error message. It’s the error message from a business
, not system, point of view. That’s why it’s called a business
rule. If you do want a friendlier version (as LinkedIn did) that’s fine.
Think for a minute about your operational business processes. Many of your business rules either change frequently, unexpectedly or both. How can you keep all your operational staff up-to-speed? Constantly send them off to training classes?! Flood them with tweets or e-mails?! Not going to work.
In a world of constant change, a system is not state-of-the-art unless it addresses continuous re-
training. Business rules do. Ultimately there’s no alternative. I’ve been saying that for a long time too.