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

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Posts Tagged ‘Building Business Solutions’

An Open Letter to Ms. Mona G.

Mona G., Who in the world are you? What do you do for a living? Mona G. recently wrote a review of our book, Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules, on Amazon. Unlike the other 11 reviews, which all gave the book the highest rating of 5 stars, Mona gave it 1 star, the worst. Hmmm. Mona has only written two other reviews on Amazon:
  • Oskri Fiber Bar, Almonds and Cranberries, 0.88-Ounce Bars (Pack of 40) (Grocery)
  • J.Renee Women’s Tova Ornamented Pump (Apparel)
Three reviews … fiber bar, shoes, and Business Analysis book. Hmmm. The book review is very well written. Too well in fact. Let me ask you (the reader) something. What do you usually do if you don’t like a book? I just put it down and never mention it again. I don’t read it carefully enough to write a 5-paragraph bad review. Do you?! A paragraph or two would suffice. You wouldn’t think there are dirty tricks going on in a professional industry like ours, do you?? The review raised two issues of substance worth addressing so I’ll do that here.
  • “In some paragraphs, several words and phrases that would seem unimportant are in bold text, perhaps by accident, leaving the reader wondering why there is emphasis on such unimportant content.”

 Words in blue bolded text are simply words with definitions given in the glossary so as to be crystal clear how they are used in the text. The blue bolding is definitely no accident. The glossary is 55 pages long. I’ve never been criticized for creating a comprehensive glossary before. Who would have thought?!

  • The review quotes the book about ‘wordings’, which are “the verbs and verb phrases that allow you to express what you know about those things in a consistent manner. … You need wordings to write complete sentences….” The review asks, “Really? What is wrong with calling them verbs, which is what they really are?”

 Here’s why by way of an example. A verb phrase like “arrives at” does not mean the same as simply the verb “arrives”. A verb phrase, almost always formed with prepositions (e.g., “at”), carries distinctive meaning. The statement “A plane arrives.” does not mean the same as “A plane arrives at [some specific city].” So you have to talk about “wordings” rather than just verbs. That’s just how semantics works. Too complicated? Geez, don’t know what to say.

Mona seems to have a low estimation of Business Analyst’s reading ability. I beg to differ on that point (strongly). I find most BAs to be highly motivated and quite capable. I guess I am old school, but sometimes I wonder if so much anonymity on the web is a good thing. I mean I would be glad to refund Mona’s money to her … if she would just reveal herself. But I suppose the picture might get ugly if she revealed her true identity. Oh well. C’est la vie. P.S. If you’ve read over the book and disagree with Mona, we’d much appreciate it if you’d put in a good word for us on Amazon.

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Concept Migration … First You Have a Vocabulary Problem, Then You Have a Data Problem

When one company acquires another, or two companies merge, there is inevitably much consternation over data migration. Indeed, it’s always a hard problem. Underlying every data migration problem, however, is a concept migration problem. By ‘concept migration’, I really mean integration of business vocabularies. After all, business vocabulary comes before data. Consider the case of two airlines merging their frequent-flyer programs. (I live in Houston – Can you guess which airlines I might be talking about?) The airlines need business rules for how concepts from the respective programs line up with each other. (At the onset I’m sure they won’t.) Even better, the airlines should start with a business strategy for the business problem (what we call a Policy Charter) and set of business policies, then develop the business rules. A corresponding problem exists in building a new business capability. An existing set of concepts exists (probably implicit in the data and not well-formed). You also have a revised set of explicit concepts in the form of a structured business vocabulary (concept model, also called fact model). Yes, you will probably have a data migration problem, but first you have a concept migration problem. So before your business model is complete, you need to develop an appropriate set of business ‘migration’ rules to specify how the transition in business practices should take place. In other words, you need to ask:

Are there concepts in the current business capability that need to be reorganized for, or ‘mapped’ to, the new or revised concepts of the future-form business capability?

Here is an example ..

Current Situation: Currently marketing reps can make hand-shake deals with customers on the road (‘road deals’). In the past, these deals were usually based on long-standing connections, so proper documentation of the details (often missing) was not too important.

With faster rates of turn-over and more specialized products this traditional business practice has become problematic. So the business will no longer support road deals. A new concept is being introduced for ‘spontaneous’ deals, called spot deal, which provides better coordination.

When the future-form business capability is deployed, however, some road deals will still be in force. How should these existing road deals be handled?

Business Tactic (in the Policy Charter): ‘Road deals’ are to be discontinued.

Business Transition Rule: Any “road deal” made in the past by a marketing rep that has never been formulated into a contract must be considered a spot deal.

A business transition rule is really about semantic migration. That fancy-sounding term isn’t needed though. At issue simply is knowing exactly what the words we use mean. Tackle that issue as a business problem, and the system solutions will fall into place. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My business partner, Gladys S.W. Lam, will be using the airline example in one of her talks at the Business Rules Forum Conference http://www.businessrulesforum.com/ Oct 28 – Nov 1 in Ft. Lauderdale.

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What Does Business Governance Have To Do with Business Rules? … Everything!

Business governance and business rules are directly linked. Bear with me for a moment while we go over what some words mean. So as not argue over them, let’s go to an authoritative source. The following definitions are from Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary. govern [1a]: to exercise arbitrarily or by established rules continuous sovereign authority over; especially: to control and direct the making and administration of policy in Note the high-profile roles of (business) policies and (business) rules in this definition. I didn’t make that up. So ‘governing’ a business involves coordinating how business policies and business rules are created (the making … of) and deployed (managed, distributed and monitored) within day-to-day business operations (administration). governance [1]: the act or process of governing [2a]: the office, power, or function of governing [4a]: the manner or method of governing [5]: a system of governing Based directly on these definitions, here’s my definition for business governance. business governance:  a  process, organizational function, set of techniques, and systematic approach for creating and deploying business policies and business rules into day-to-day business activity Why haven’t more people recognized the direct link between business governance and business rules?! I wish I knew. Sooner or later, they will. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  This post excerpted from our new book (Oct, 2011) Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules. See:  http://www.brsolutions.com/b_building_business_solutions.php  

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Batting 1000 on Amazon: Our New Book “Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules” Hits Eight 5-Star Reviews (of 8) on Amazon

Our new book has been extremely well received this far – very gratifying. See the Amazon reviews: http://goo.gl/8lk4u and more comments: http://www.brsolutions.com/b_building_business_solutions_reviewers.php Two reviewers, George McGeachie and Maria Amuchastegui, made same criticism, both giving the book a 5-star rating anyway. So let me clarify. George McGeachie wrote: “The point about business rules and deployment is made on page 9, where you say that requirements evolve before deployment, and business rules evolve after deployment. In reality, I would expect business rules to evolve alongside requirements, and continue evolving after deployment.” We were trying to make a simple point. This time the point was perhaps expressed too simply. A full expression of what we meant to say would be: “A great many business rules exist before requirements, some business rules evolve alongside requirements. Unlike requirements, however, business rules continue to evolve after deployment – sometimes quite rapidly.” Elsewhere in the book we express the idea that your business would need its business rules even if it had no software at all. I think that implies many (probably most) business rules do exist prior to requirements. But thanks George and Maria – point taken.

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Business Analysis & Business Rules – Announcing Our New Book and BBC 2011 Conference – **Special Discounts** for Friends and Colleagues

Let me mention two important things happening soon and special discounts for them – Both discounts good only through **Friday, September 30**   1. ANNOUNCING OUR NEW BOOK … Coming in October! BUILDING BUSINESS SOLUTIONS: BUSINESS ANALYSIS WITH BUSINESS RULES … an IIBA Sponsored Handbook (304pp) … It’s all about taking Business Analysis to the next level of capability.  http://www.brsolutions.com/bbs >> Receive 25% off the book’s list price of $39.95 if you pre-order now. Use discount code **BBS1001**.  2. BUILDING BUSINESS CAPABILITIES CONFERENCE (BBC 2011) … Oct. 31 – Nov. 3, Ft. Lauderdale, FL  http://www.buildingbusinesscapability.com/  The must-attend conference of the year covering all things ‘business’.  Four conferences in one for a total of 9 tracks on pace this year to be a sell-out!  >> Receive a 15% discount on registration. Use discount code **RRBBCFL**.  * Business Analysis Forum, the Official Conference of the IIBA. http://www.buildingbusinesscapability.com/baf/ * 14th annual Business Rules Forum Conference. http://www.businessrulesforum.com/ * The 1st annual Business Architecture Summit. http://www.buildingbusinesscapability.com/bas/ * The Business Process Forum. http://www.businessprocessforum.org/

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