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Enabling Operational Excellence
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Posts Tagged ‘Zachman 3.0’

The Debate Continues … Business Rules in Zachman 3.0 … and the Upcoming Business Architecture Summit at BBC2011

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. Question: Can rules address more than one primitive (column) in the Framework? My Answer: 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. Question: Does rules not being a primitive mean that business rules shouldn’t be treated as a first-class citizen? My Answer: 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.

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Rules in the Zachman Framework … Get Ready for a Burst of Architectural Rethink

As it turns out, rules have been one of the hardest things to figure out in the Zachman Framework. From a purely selfish point of view, that’s been a good thing, because it’s given an excuse for John and I to have many long dinners over the question in places that have really, really good food. I think the emerging answer is an exciting one. Think ‘gray lines’ in 3.0. Rules turn out to be composites. As John likes to do, roll the Framework into a cylinder, then look through it like a telescope. The gray lines arching through the space inside represent the current configuration of your enterprise. Traditionally, those gray lines have been implemented by procedural means … and we know the pitfalls of rules hardcoded into application code. It’s like setting the business in concrete. I think what 3.0 really points us toward is a new vision for the composites; a highly innovative burst of rethinking about configuration based on the primitives. I’ll be having more to say about this in the near future … It’s the topic for my 15 minute 3Amigos session with John and Roger Burlton at this year’s Business Architecture Summit (Oct 31 – Nov 4, Ft. Lauderdale) … http://www.buildingbusinesscapability.com/ P.S. Try to picture John being able to say anything in 15 minutes. That will be interesting in itself!

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