I had a major case of deja vu reading a recent post by Tom Graves, “The Two Kinds of Why”, at http://bit.ly/qgJ40i#baot. I’ll tell you why in a second. Believe it or not it has to do with our business card.
Zachman and I have had a continung conversation over many years about business rules and the Zachman Framework. We’ve moved forward inch by inch. You have to admire a man who is 76 years old and never tires of listening and learning. I certainly do.
John has a version 3.0 of the Framework coming out very soon if not already. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t see business rules in the ‘why’ column.
Graves says, “One side of Why creates a question: literally, it starts a ’quest’. For most of us, that’s the exciting bit. The other side of Why is the answer to the question, the end of the quest. That was the question, here’s the answer: The Decision. End of story.”
Oh not so! Strategy should be viewed as a continuous feedback loop. You put some stakes in the ground, the ‘down’ why’, but you continuously test those ‘decisions’ to see if they hold up in the light of day. Do they achieve what the ‘up’ why (the ‘quest’) set off to achieve?
We believe a conversation about strategy (both the ‘up’ why and the ‘down’ why) is exactly the one business leads are looking to have. Our deliverable for that, called a Policy Charter, addresses both questions, two sides of the same coin.
Looking down from business goals. What are the best business tactics and business policies to achieve the business goals, and how are the associated business risks addressed?
Looking up toward business goals. What is the business motivation for each of the business tactics and business policies, and why are they appropriate?
We’ve looked at the world like this since 1996 and it’s proven highly productive in many scores of engagements. I submit to you as evidence Exhibit A below, our original business card from 1996. (I always liked it … I designed it. Obviously, I shouldn’t give up the day job!) See the intertwined why’s? Hard to miss.
Finally, business rules are boring?! Not! See http://goo.gl/0tLD3
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.
“We actively use the BRS business-side techniques and train our business analysts in the approach. The techniques bring clarity between our BAs & customers, plus more robust requirements for our development teams. We’ve seen tremendous value.”
Jeanine Bradley – Railinc
“I found the course interesting and will be helpful.
I like the pragmatic reality you discuss, while a rule tool would be great, recognizing many people will use Word/Excel to capture them helps. We can’t jump from crazy to perfect in one leap!
Use of the polls is also great. Helps see how everyone else is doing (we are not alone), and helps us think about our current state.”
Trevor – Investors Group
“Instructors were very knowledgeable and could clearly explain concepts and convey importance of strategy and architecture.
It was a more comprehensive, holistic approach to the subject than other training. Emphasis on understanding the business prior to technology considerations was reassuring to business stakeholders.”
Bernard – Government of Canada
“A great class that explains the importance of business rules in today’s work place.”
Christopher – McKesson
“Your work has been one of the foundations of my success in our shared passion for data integration. It has had a huge impact on innumerable people!”