Fundamental Challenges Facing Your Business: #1 – Business Agility
Charles Darwin is reported to have said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Becoming more responsive to change is simply not optional these days.
Consider the current state of affairs in IT today. The statistics are depressing. Reliable sources indicate that over 75% of all IT resources go toward system ‘maintenance’. That’s not agile! In the second of edition of Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules, Gladys Lam and I describe this world as like living in change deployment hell.
You might say that legacy systems are poorly engineered, but I believe that misses the mark. Rather, perhaps they are be over-engineered.
What happens when you over-engineer something? The solution you produce is too stiff or too rigid or too cumbersome for the real-world problem. Think ‘tree that doesn’t bend with the wind’. The speed of business is accelerating, yet the architecture of traditionally-built systems is rigid and static.
The fundamental problem in this regard is embedding business rules within the systems themselves. If you hard-code business rules into application logic, they will be hard to find, hard to understand, and even harder to change. Do we really want to keep building systems that way?!
Make no mistake about it – many business rules will change. So if you continue hard-coding business rules into systems, you will be revisiting the code … a lot! That might be a good thing for service providers, but it’s not a good thing for the business.
The obvious solution is to engineer business rules separately from functional requirements. Can you do that cleanly and effectively? Absolutely. It’s been proven many, many times.
Tags: business agility, change deployment hell, functional requirement, hard-coding rules
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.