Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence


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Ten Rules for Validating Business Rules with Business People

Here are some practical do’s and don’ts we’ve learned on the years for validating business rules with business people in facilitated sessions. I should warn you, some of these points are counterintuitive.  
  1. Determine whether there is already a trusted source or implementation for a rule. Always re-use, don’t rewrite.
  2. Of course there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. Document them and move on.
  3. Limit discussion about organizational responsibilities for applying the rules. That’s a different discussion.
  4. A rule only addresses exactly what it says explicitly.  For example, “high credit usage” doesn’t necessarily mean “high risk”.
  5. How strictly a rule is to be enforced is a separate issue from just what it says. Focus on practicality and precision, not on whether a rule is strictly enforced or just a guideline.
  6. Don’t jump into whether or not current data elements support some aspect of the rule. That’s system design.
  7. Take it as a given that analytics might be used to sharpen some rules. That’s homework.
  8. The goal is consistency and precision for people too, not just for automation.
  9. Avoid brain churn. Eliminate all matters from further discussion except what remains uncertain. If a rule in isolation is not that important, just move on.
  10. Rules are living, breathing things. Don’t be afraid to put a stake in the ground, e.g., a specific number for a threshold, because with well-managed rules, it can be changed at any time.


Ronald G. Ross

Ron Ross, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rules Solutions, LLC, is internationally acknowledged as the “father of business rules.” Recognizing early on the importance of independently managed business rules for business operations and architecture, he has pioneered innovative techniques and standards since the mid-1980s. He wrote the industry’s first book on business rules in 1994.

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