At the Business Architecture Summit in Ft. Lauderdale (BBC2011 – Oct 31 – Nov 4) I will be joining John Zachman and Roger Burlton for one of our rabble-raising 3Amigo sessions. The session is only an hour long, so I’m sure there will be some fast talking(!).
One of the first questions I want John to address is: “Where are the business rules in Zachman 3.0?” The following recent exchange represents my current understanding on the matter. I plan to come back on the record after the event to say what I got right and what I got wrong.
Can rules address more than one primitive (column) in the Framework?
Yes, atomic rules can address multiple primitives – e.g., An accounting must be given by the CFO in Delaware on March 15, 2012.
(By ‘atomic’ I mean ‘can’t be reduced into two or more rules without losing meaning.’) In this rule you have a thing (‘accounting’), a person (the CFO), a place (Delaware), and a date (March 15, 2012). So even atomic rules are composites, not primitives.
Does rules not being a primitive mean that business rules shouldn’t be treated as a first-class citizen?
What ‘first-class citizen’ has always meant in the Business Rule Manifesto (http://www.businessrulesgroup.org/brmanifesto.htm
) and elsewhere is that business rules shouldn’t be subordinate to other kinds of requirements for system design in general, and to what I call ‘Big-P’ processes in particular. Big-P processes are not primitive (think ‘input-process-output’), but rather they amalgamate (think ‘mash-up’) some or even all the other primitives. In other words, Big-P processes are also composite.
Composites are about the configuration of the enterprise at any point in time. Business rules are one candidate for that capacity. I believe business rules are a far better choice in that regard than Big-P processes (think ‘business agility’).
In any case, business rules being a composite in no way diminishes their importance. The enterprise is not built on primitives alone. If you had only primitives, there would be no configuration, and literally no enterprise.