Building Business Solutions Reviews


Essential “Go To” Reference for Business Analysis with Business Rules

“Ron and Gladys’ book is must reading for anyone practicing the art and discipline of business analysis. It is written by the preeminent leaders in business rules who are not just thought leaders, but also practitioners. This book provides you with the rationale, structure and guidance you need for business analysis using a business rule-based approach.

The book is clear, concise and comprehensive. The authors present their content using Jogger-like elements (e.g., icons, sidebar calls outs, examples, sample questions called “pattern questions”). It is readable and practical. Building Business Solutions includes a complete Glossary, shows you examples for declaratively representing business rules dependencies Q-Chart, and helps you understand the differences among process, rules, and decision logic. And, importantly, the authors show you the truly strategic nature of business analysis.

Get it. Read it. Reference it–continually.

The guidance in Ron and Gladys’ book can help you use practices that enable our business stakeholders do the right things.”

Ellen Gottesdiener

Best business rules book written yet (5-Stars)

“This is definitely the most practical and useful business rules book available today. Where it excels and others fall short is that it starts by showing readers how to come up with an overall business strategy and then how to get processes and rules from that strategy. By the time you get to the end of the book Ron and Gladys make the connection to systems as well so you can really see the entire rule harvesting process end to end. Definitely something everybody should read before getting into a business rules project.

From my own personal experience I can attest that the methods they show in the book work well too. As soon as I read about policy charters in this book I had a realization that this activity had never happened on my current project. After a quick workshop with the business showing goals/tactics/risks I was able to easily get everybody on the same page at last.”

Lee Chisholm

Book Review: Building Business Capability by Ronald G Ross and Gladys SW Lam.

“Ron Ross and Gladys Lam have written an important book for the business analyst community. It aims to get business analysts out of the technology ghetto that many of us get stuck in. Regardless of the type of analyst you are, I think it would be worth your time to get your hands on and read this book. I’ll explain why below.

The business analyst role is not about deploying features or systems. It’s about understanding business so that anticipated changes can be analysed and assessed in a way that enables organisations to transition from their current to future state in a way that is efficient, resilient and sustainable. Business analysts are there, in Ron and Gladys’ words to enable business agility.

The book is broken into two sections. The first is a typical textbook style description of their framework for business analysis and the second is a quite detailed ‘annotated glossary’ which nicely illustrates one of the core elements of their model, the ‘fact model.’

The first part of the book runs through an initial section on the motivation and context for the framework, and then it runs through a series of chapters which could almost be representative of a step by step approach to analysis. However it isn’t that; and the authors explicitly state that the book is not a playbook template for business analysis.

This book gives the author a walkthrough of the model the authors have created based upon their own proprietary Business Rules driven Proteus methodology. The approach starts with the big picture; what is the scope you are dealing with? What are the core organisational policies that set the ground rules? What aspects of the business create a context for business rule discovery? And finally, how do we uncovering business requirements via business rules? Throughout the book a number of ‘pattern’ questions with examples are provided to assist in bringing the model to life.

The framework itself is coherent and actionable. The authors mean it to be an elevation of typical systems (tools) focused approach to business analysis. It presents techniques that help you as an analyst get to the roots of business requirements – motivations, polices and rules.

If you are a business analyst that consistently delivers good work, but aren’t building your methods around one of the three common approaches of data analysis, process analysis or interaction analysis you are possibly using this model (or something like it) intuitively. This book gives a language to what many good analysts do by instinct. Even better, it gives scalable tools to get to solution agnostic requirements.

A downside of the book is that it suffers from a common problem with textbooks or process guides: In order to be complete and consistent in its information architecture it can get a little repetitive and boring in parts, especially when presenting the ‘pattern questions.’ And to be honest, that may just be me and my twitter conditioned brain.

The book is peppered with anecdotes, stories and examples to illustrate the points. And the pattern questions provide a solid reference material that can help create tangible and actionable tools like checklists for your project.

It’s important to note that the authors do not claim this method is a silver bullet. The author’s anecdotes indicate a lightweight and iterative approach to developing rules based requirements, but the model looks like it was developed in a more stage gates project context. Your personal worldview and biases will affect how you perceive this model and how you deploy it.

In fact, it appears to be a workable framework for many cases and can probably be integrated into other analysis and design frameworks for mutual benefit. The rules approach to requirements looks like it would couple really nicely coupled with Behaviour Driven Development.

The obvious benefits of this book include a framework that transcends data, process and interaction design and gets to the ‘why’ of business. What’s the business model? How do I get to understand and analyse it? You can also use it as a thinking-model platform to expand your own analysis approach and techniques (blend it with BDD for example.)

More importantly, I don’t think that we, as a community of analysts, have sufficient depth of understanding of what we do and how we get good results. This book and others like it provide stepping stones to becoming a more valuable and reliable service to our colleagues, clients and employers.”

– Craig Brown
Erina Legal

“Building Business Solutions” Ronald Ross & Gladys Lam

“A Business Analyst must be the master of thinking tools to effectively communicate, model business complexity and improve business capability. Modeling any business is a challenge, business processes, people and technology keep moving faster. How do we align business strategy with IT? Business will continue to become more highly regulated and as the information age begins to grow up we require innovative thinking tools and skills for SME’s and business analysts. Business analysts need to articulate and aide decision makers to build better business solutions and we require powerful thinking tools to reach deeper and deeper into the language and architecture of business.

Ronald Ross and Gladys Lam repeatedly demonstrate a unique clarity and precision on how to speak a fact-based language that communicates the business for everyone. “Building Business Solutions” just released will reveal a wide array of thinking tools like business facts and how to go about nailing them down. “Building Business Solutions” carefully steps from business strategy through to decision making techniques for business solutions, then surgically offers help on how to externalize business rules from business process models. The concepts and practice in this book show how innovative thinking and analysis has proven dramatic business agility while reducing costs.

‘Building Business Solutions’ goes a long way towards fleshing out best practices for collecting, analyzing and modeling business requirements. In my humble opinion there appears to be too much confusion between what is a business requirement and what is a software requirement? What all good IT solution architects need from business is a clearly articulated business model to design more aligned people and software solutions. This book will ensure that we begin to focus more on the business system and less on the IT system the only way to ensure business strategy and IT alignment.

I’m a passionate, highly practiced freelance business analyst, business architect, and business process transformation consultant. I have personally trained and mentored thousands of business analysts across hundreds of organizations. This books “Building Business Solutions” belongs on every business analysts and business architects bookshelf. ‘Building Business Solutions” is a pragmatic guide, immediately useable, that helps us to clarify and articulate the complex needs of high value and high risk business solutions.”

Ramsay Millar

5-Stars! A Great Resource

“This book is a great resource for those charged with eliciting, analyzing, specifying and testing business rules, regardless of their title. Ron and Gladys have effectively positioned business rules as first class citizens, equal and aligned with data (the fact model) and process (business process models). I was especially pleased with how they incorporated events and state diagrams to convey business milestones, all sources of many business rules.

The coverage of decision analysis including decision tasks, logic and rules is very helpful — from the basic elements of operational business decisions to visualizing decisions in question charts.

The pattern questions alone (there are over 40 of them) would justify buying the book! Each pattern’s “ask specifically” question provides a business-focused approach for digging into essential details and the accompanying “sample business rule” models how to specify the answer.

The annotated glossary is unusually rich with detailed definitions and helpful examples.

Building Business Solutions is definitely the ‘go-to’ book on business analysis with business rules.”

Mary B. Gorman

A timely and readable addition to the arsenal of any business analyst

“Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules fills a gap in the literature of business analysis. Unlike the BABOK, which does not purport to describe a methodology, Building Business Solutions provides a cohesive methodology that can be used to define requirements — from high-level strategy to detailed business rules — in a way that supports strategy alignment, knowledge retention, governance and continuous change.

Author Ronald Ross, who is known as the “father of business rules”, and co-author Gladys Lam, base their approach on the Zachman Framework … which uses business architecture to ensure IT solutions map to business strategy. … They argue that isolating business rules enables organizations to change business rules in an agile, cost-effective way, while ensuring that other artifacts are greatly simplified and less subject to change.

… on the whole, the book is a necessary corrective to the tendency in the IT industry to define all requirements in the form of use cases — and to attempt to derive all business rules from use cases. At a time when IT is increasingly called upon to respond to continuous change in an agile way, and when governance issues have come to fore, the book serves as a timely and readable addition to the arsenal of any business analyst.”

Maria Amuchastegui

Targeted at Business Analysts, but definitely a must-read book for every data modeller

“This book is targeted at Business Analysts, but I would definitely include it in the must-read book list for any data modeller, especially if they need to produce a “conceptual data model” or “business data model”. A “conceptual” or “business” data model is about real-world concepts, using terms that business people would naturally use – it is very close in concept to the ‘Fact Model’ described in chapter 9. The Fact Model employs terms (nouns or noun phrases) and noun-and-verb constructions (such as “a customer must place at least one order”) – these constructions transform into business rules, and can often be reproduced directly in a data model. You may be able to configure your data modelling tools to use the notation shown in this book; if you can, that’s a real help.

Data modellers should also check out chapter 10, where the authors discuss business milestones, and how they represent changes in state (e.g. “Order shipped”); such state changes are very important to data modellers.

This book is a great illustration of the crossover between the roles of Business Analyst and Data Modeller – they are both concerned with placing the business rules and vocabulary at the fingertips of business people, business analysts, and anyone else interested; we must avoid burying the rules and vocabulary in software requirements.

… This book should be required reading for Business Analysts, Programme and Project Managers, and anyone with responsibility for improving the way the business operates.”

George McGeachie

Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules

“I have read this book 2 times. Ron Ross and Gladys Lam provided me the early release back in September 2011 and I promised a review. I found this book to be very informative, clear, concise, and practical. There are lots of individual examples, which is great for understanding. The only item I would ask for in a future edition would be to provide possibly a Main Case Study that demonstrates all of the areas in one cohesive area to further drive the various points from Scope Lists, Strategy, Policy Charter (which is an excellent component), Pattern Questions, frameworks for BPM, Business vocabulary, obtaining Business Rules from fact Models, Business Milestones and obtaining Business Rules from the milestones, Decision Analysis… etc.

Often I read texts that only tell about the ‘what’ but not the ‘how’ – This book provides both. I would highly recommend this book to all levels of experience folks that are BA’s as well Business Process folks. Building a solid foundation of understanding is key – getting everyone on the same page is really important for the success of projects and delivering the ‘value’ – This book provides the framework / foundation to make this a reality.”

Keith Stolte

Great bridging business concepts for the technical IT professionals

“This book is an excellent business-based resource for IT professionals. It helps business architects, technical architects and solution architects clear up concepts underlying business consulting methodologies. Their approach fills a gap that general business architecture and business process/use case methodologies do not get into, enabling the technical solution designers to more clearly understand the ‘what’s and why’s’of business goals and business requirements.”

– Jenny Choy

Notes from Readers

“Congratulations Ron and Gladys! A good read and an important contribution to the literature. I especially like the sections about Business Architecture. I have already found use for it in several projects. It’s a very helpful book.”

– Stan Hendryx
Hendryx & Associates

“Returning from the IIBA’s Building Business Capability (BBC) conference in Las Vegas. Awesome event! Picked up – and reading! – Building Business Solutions by Ron Ross & Gladys Lam. I am reading this after a red-eye flight – proof that it is riveting!”

– Kiran Garimella

“We have based our whole business rules analysis practice on the methodology and techniques developed by the Business Rules Solution team. The Building Business Solutions book is an integral part of our practice. It’s an easy to read, useful guide with real life examples – we use it daily and couldn’t do without it!”

– Michelle Murray
Business Rules Architect, Inland Revenue Department NZ

“… this book provides a robust framework to help BAs identify business solutions to business problems. It’s an important milestone in taking business analysis to the next level.”

– Kathleen Barret
formerly President & CEO, IIBA®

“… Building Business Solutions presents BAs with a cohesive, coherent, and powerful approach to solving business problems, and will help them develop the skills required to change their organizations for the better.”

– Kevin Brennan
formerly EVP, IIBA®

” … a great read and valuable insight. This is the cornerstone for all things ‘business architecture’. Get this down pat, then you’re golden!”

– Glenn R. Brûlé

“…the book is an excellent read that I highly recommend.”

– Ray Diaz

“Highly readable … very pragmatic.”

“This handbook should be on every professional’s desk.”

“An important milestone for the practice of business analysis – and a must-read for anyone seeking better results with requirements.”

“Your new book is very, very good. I guess ‘gob-smacked’ is the word. This is really going to help explain business rule methodology.”

– Rob van Haarst

“Just read your book and I’m very happy with the clear vision about what BA should be about. Well done! Great work in putting BA on the right track!”

– Willem Norbert Dijkgraaf

“I took your new book on a long flight from North America to Dubai and couldn’t put it down! Read the whole thing virtually non-stop. Really liked the presentation and style. I’ll be recommending it to the classes I teach in the Middle East. I think your approach is very practical, one that should be followed by just about any business professional or business analyst working in this field.”

– Gil Laware

“A great tool for Business Analysts wanting to improve their business rule chops or for a great overall text on business rules with a BA flavour. I definitely recommend it. And if you can go hear Ron speak on the subject, do. He’s entertaining, engaging and really knows business rules.”

– Tatiana Govoni

“I love it!”

– Larry Madson