Business Rules

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Ron Ross and Gladys Lam have written an important book for the business analyst community. It aims to get business analysts out of the technology ghetto that many of us get stuck in. Regardless of the type of analyst you are, I think it would be worth your time to get your hands on and read this book. I’ll explain why below.

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Agile development is an approach that evolves requirements and software through iterative deliverables. One of its principles is to deliver working software frequently, often through a series of two to three week iterations.  The Decision Model (TDM) is a model for the full and rigorous specification of logic.

 

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This article proposes a use case best practice technique: Always document decisions separately and explicitly in use case scenarios. This practice assists the business analyst in identifying where alternate and exception paths may be needed.This is similar to how decisions and resulting gateways are documented in Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN).

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A business model should include behavioral rules, decision rules, operational business decisions, and operational business events — all as first-class citizens. Understanding their intertwined roles is key to creating top-notch business solutions and business operation systems unmatched in their support for business agility and knowledge retention. This article explains how such true-to-life business models can be created.

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Before harvesting business rules, you should be aware of some basic principles and absorb them into your practices. First, all business rules are subject to change, including (and perhaps especially) business rules derived directly from business policies. The ability to change and redeploy business rules is essential to business agility.

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RuleGuide is a tool that accelerates and improves the quality of business decision and rule capture, analysis and management. By providing an enterprise repository for business decisions, rules, and associated metadata, RuleGuide fosters ongoing collaboration and alignment ofthe business and IT teams.

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In this article we focus, not so much on the similarities among decision models, but on their differences. More than that, we explore the idea of classifying decision model structures based on differences in their logic. The decision model diagram is the first place to look for visible differences among decision models.
 

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Continuous change is a central fact of life for business these days. The techniques you use for business analysis must be based on the assumption that business rules will change, often quite rapidly. The best business solution is one that caters to such change, always doing so in the manner friendliest to business people and Business Analysts.

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Like most business analysts, Charles captured business rules as part of requirements gathering. Also like most business analysts, he followed traditional business rules approaches. These included writing individual business rule expressions, storing them outside the confines of process models and use cases, and providing pointers to them. However, he changed his approach after experimenting with The Decision Model.

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Transaction Business Logic is the processing required in processing database transactions to enforce business policies. It is sometimes characterized as Enforcement logic, since the transaction should be rejected if the rules are not passed. Consider the insertion of a new Purchase Order...

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The Decision Model in practice has delivered many unanticipated, but positive surprises. The most obvious and powerful surprise is how it drastically simplifies process models. In fact, we regularly receive unsolicited messages from people who experience this effect. For example, one practitioner condensed a 45-page process model to one with eight task boxes.
 

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Structured business vocabulary is a missing ingredient in most current approaches to developing requirements. This omission should greatly concern every business analyst. Indeed, business vocabulary is key to a whole range of fundamental challenges, including but not limited to capturing business rules. One reason is that business vocabulary, like data and business rules, lives on beyond the point of system implementation and deployment.

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The number of successes with The Decision Model is escalating. Organizations are using The Decision Model to solve a range of business challenges and opportunities including some we did not expect. Therefore, this month we summarize three real world projects to illustrate how organizations are using decision models and how quickly project teams are delivering them.

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“Requirements are rules. They arise from business models, but they are different from those business models.”  Perhaps you’ve heard the argument. Maybe you’ve even made it yourself. Are they?  No!  Read this article to find out why.

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In this article, I explain a project completed in the financial services industry. A client asked me to lead a project to redesign a failed sub-process that had resulted in billions of dollars of backed up financial transactions. This particular financial process had a history of failed and abandoned process improvement projects. The pressure was on and, I must confess, I was not entirely sure that The Decision Model would be a good fit.

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