Comment by DMN proponent: In common business use the term “decision” is often overloaded to mean “decision output”. So I “make a decision to do X” is the act, whereas I “use the decision as input to another decision” is referring to the decision output. I’m not sure there are any semantic issues with (i.e. possible problems caused by) this overloading?My response: Since DMN is a standard (and in particular claims to be a business standard), then it must stick with its own definition of terms in all cases. Otherwise, in what sense is it a standard (especially a business standard)? In defining “decision” DMN had two fundamental choices (from Merriam-Webster Unabridged dictionary): 1. a : the act of deciding; specifically : the act of settling or terminating (as a contest or controversy) by giving judgment 1. b : a determination arrived at after consideration : SETTLEMENT, CONCLUSION DMN explicitly chose the first meaning. I strongly prefer the second, but then I’m a big fan of all things declarative. So in BRS TableSpeak an outcome by definition is a decision.Since DMN explicitly chose the first meaning, however, an outcome (conclusion) is by definition *not* a decision. A decision is an act, never the result of the act. Hey, I’m just reading what is written in the standard. If DMN somehow allows ‘overloading’ of the term “decision” — the central term in the standard — all bets are off. A term that you can use any way you want when it happens to suit you is a term that has not been standardized at all. The result is semantic muddle. Pretty big deal. Sorry!www.BRSolutions.com
The answer is no, but read on.
RuleSpeak 3.0 featuring tabulation was just recently released. See http://www.brsolutions.com/b_ipspeakprimers.php (free download). RuleSpeak is structured natural language for expressing business rules in the clearest way possible, yet very precisely.
I know some people argue that decision models will supplant the need to express any and all individual business rules. Pardon me, but that’s either highly uninformed or not-so-innocently misleading.
Having said that, do I think there’s much to be gained from decision analysis and a revival of decision tables (a very old technique)? Absolutely. We’ve been busy fine-tuning methods for a good number of years.
I’m glad we waited. The results speak for themselves. See the new DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak (free downloads) on that same webpage.
All 3 ‘Speaks’ are highly complementary … as of course they should be! You need all these tools to be successful with business rules. By the way, all 3 ‘Speaks’ are business-oriented and tool-independent … as they should be(!).
written in response to Jacob Feldman:http://www.brsolutions.com/2013/05/07/response-to-decisionspeak-tablespeak-annnouncement/
Jacob, Thanks! And I agree with you about the ‘executable’ part.
Our emphasis is on business-friendly, business-driven models. I believe DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak move things forward significantly in that regard. There’s no reason why decision models have to be oriented to IT development. If they are robust, they will nonetheless be executable.
I would sound a note of caution. Decision models are no silver bullet. There are issues of semantics (vocabulary) and integrity (restrictions) to be addressed.
And they don’t cover even the majority of all business rules – especially behavioral rules. If you throw everything you (should) know about business rules out the window when you use decision models, you will be in for a very rude awaking.
I’m glad we did not rush to the market. We’ve taken our time to do our homework with respect to theory (which has been out there for a great many years) and to hone our approach in real-life consulting work.
I think the results speak for themselves!
guest post by Jacob Feldman
First of all, congratulations on your new Primers that provide very detailed convention sets for the decision management domain. I quote from your documents:
* DecisionSpeak™, a set of conventions for expressing the meaning of operational business decisions.
* TableSpeak™ is a set of conventions for business-friendly representation of decision tables and their meaning (semantics) in declarative fashion.
Naturally, my first thought is: can we make these conventions EXECUTABLE? More precisely:
Can we help subject matter experts (not programmers) to:
– create documents that follow these conventions?
– automatically validate (enforce) compliance to these conventions?
– execute the compliant documents?
After a quick walking through the documents, I think the answers are YES. We, at OpenRules, should be able to build OpenRules templates (in Excel) that supports these conventions and to direct users how to apply these templates to create, validate, and execute concrete decisions, decision tables, and other types of rules. There are certainly many details how better to address certain constructions described in TableSpeak™, but they all look solvable to me.
Previously, we provided a similar implementation as soon as another decision modeling methodology (TDM) was published. Now we are working with James Taylor making business requirements created by his newest DecisionFirst Modeler executable. As you know, OpenRules is also working on a reference implementation for the DMN as this standard comes to the age. It would be only natural to provide support for the IPSpeak™ methodology. Based on our previous positive experience working with you, Gladys, and other experts from BRS, I am looking forward to making IPSpeak™ executable.
As part of the April announcement of the new 4th edition of my book Business Rule Concepts: Getting to the Point of Knowledge, I’m pleased to make available some additional complementary (and complimentary!) downloads: Decision Analysis – A Primer: How to Use DecisionSpeak™ and Question Charts (Q-Charts™) – 49pphttp://www.brsolutions.com/IPSpeakPrimers(free)Decision Tables – A Primer: How to Use TableSpeak™– 121pphttp://www.brsolutions.com/IPSpeakPrimers (free)Tabulation of Lists in Rulespeak®: A Primer – Using “The Following” Clause – 16pp
http://www.brsolutions.com/IPSpeakPrimers(free)We’ve comprehensively written-up state-of-the-art experience and insight in these important areas. I hope you will make the most of them!
P.S. Do have a look at other items of interest: http://goo.gl/WPV7O
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