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


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Is It Really a Business Rule?

communication1A number of years ago, a colleague of ours, Mark Myers, came up with a highly pragmatic test to determine whether some statement represents a business rule or a system rule. 

“Imagine you threw out all the systems running your business and did it all by hand (somehow).  If you still need the statement, it’s a business rule.  If you don’t, it’s not.” 

A colleague on the SBVR[1] standardization team, Don Baisley, puts it another way: 

“Business people don’t set variables and they don’t call functions.”

Business rules represent a form of business communication and must make sense (communicate) to business people.  If some statement doesn’t communicate, it’s not a business rule.  Consider this example: 

If ACT-BL LT 0 then set OD-Flag to ‘yes’. 

Not a business rule.  Consider another example: 

An account must be considered overdrawn if the account balance is less than $0. 

This statement communicates and therefore is a business rule.  Business rules can be technical, but only in terms of the company’s know-how or specialized product/service, not in terms of IT designs or platforms. 


Excerpted from: Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules, 2nd edition, by Ronald G. Ross & Gladys S.W. Lam, 2015

Get the Book: http://www.brsolutions.com/publications/building-business-solutions/ 

Get the Training: Instructor-led, online, interactive training: December 13-15, 2016 – Working with Business Rules: Capture, Specification, Analysis & Management. http://www.brsolutions.com/services/online/working-with-rules/ 

©Business Rule Solutions, LLC 2016. www.BRSolutions.com  

[1] Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR).  First released in January 2008.  Object Management Group.

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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.