Wholeness: Insight for Expressing Business Rules Well
The standard Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR) offers fundamental insights about how to express business rules well. These common-sense insights can and should directly inform all expression of business rules – and any language that purports to support them. The first of these insights is the notion of practicable, which I discussed in my previous post. See: http://www.brsolutions.com/2015/06/29/practicable-insight-for-expressing-business-rules-well/
The second of these insights is the principle of wholeness. The descriptive text below is taken directly from SBVR itself.Wholeness essentially means each business rule statement can be taken as fully trustworthy even in isolation from all other rules. The principle precludes priority schemes and rules that disable other rules, both of which can act to make any given rule less than fully trustworthy.
Principle: An element of guidance means only exactly what it says, so it must say everything it means.
Explanation: Each element of guidance must be self-contained; that is, no need to appeal to any other element(s) of guidance should ever arise in understanding the full meaning of a given element of guidance.
The full impact of an element of guidance for a body of shared guidance, of course, cannot be understood in isolation. For example, an element of guidance might be in conflict with another element of guidance, or act as an authorization in the body of shared guidance. The Wholeness Principle simply means that if a body of shared guidance is deemed free of conflicts, then with respect to guidance, the full meaning of each element of guidance does not require examination of any other element of guidance. In other words, each element of guidance can be taken at face value for whatever it says.
Tags: ambiguity, expressing business rules, practicable, priority schemes, rule expression, RuleSpeak, SBVR, trustworhy rules, wholeness
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.