Business Process Models and Business Rules … Separate the ‘Know’ from the ‘Flow’
Conditional flows are one of the most important features of a business process model. For example, a business process model for handling claims would include multiple conditional flows – e.g., if valid claim, if claim approved, if fraud suspected
, etc. A conditional flow simply means that work follows the given path only if the condition is satisfied for a given case.
The secret of effective business process modeling with business rules is never embed the criteria used to evaluate a conditional in the conditional itself.
Instead, just name the conditional using an adjective (e.g., valid
) or past participle (e.g., approved
). The criteria for evaluating conditionals should always be expressed separately as business rules.
Fortunately there’s nothing particularly hard about that. Example: A claim may be considered valid only if it has an incident date.
Following this best practice is how you keep a business process model simple – often by an order of magnitude or more!
Frankly, most business processes aren’t nearly as complicated as people think. What’s complicated is the know-how needed to perform the business process correctly. That know-how should be represented by business rules.
P.S. I first heard the phrase ‘separate the know from the flow’ from Roger Burlton on 11/30/1999. I immediately made a note because it was so memorable and on-target.
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