The following statement came up recently in discussing business rules at Global Holdings. (Not the real name of the company.) The statement has significant problems. Sometimes simple is too simple.
Global Holdings must review the corporate account of ABC Company.
Problem 1. In general, it is not a best practice to mention “us” in specifying business rules. Do that once, then every other business rule statement should mention “us” too. That’s clearly not practical or useful, and in most cases, not even intuitive. So the current specification should be revised simply to:
The corporate account of ABC Company must be reviewed.
Problem 2. The ‘rule’ doesn’t pass basic tests of practicality or usefulness. What point would it serve to have a business rule saying that something must be reviewed without indicating one or more of the following?
some method (how?)
some location (where?)
some role (by whom?)
some timing (how often?)
some potential goal or constraint (is there potential fraud?)
In other words, the statement mandates a review based on criteria not encoded. Those absent review criteria probably represent the true business rules. To say it differently, a ‘rule’ that simply kicks out work for a human to do is probably not a business rule at all!Problem 3. As it stands, the practical effect of the statement would be to require ABC account to be reviewed as soon as it comes into being (and indicate a violation if it is not). Very few things must be reviewed for unspecified criteria at the very time they are created. Real business just doesn’t work that way.
Bottom Line: Unless additional specification is provided, this simpleton ‘rule’ should be discarded. It’s basically just toothless.
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.
“You did a wonderful job!! The material was organized and valuable.”
Janell – Texas State University
“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!”
“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
“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
“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
“Sessions flow together well and build upon the concepts for the series which makes the learning easy and better retention.
The instructor is knowledgeable and very attentive to the audience given the range of attendees skill and knowledge of the subject at hand. I enjoy her training sessions.”