‘Business Rule’ Means These 3 Things

by Ronald G. Ross on August 30, 2016

Software vendors and others mislead people (badly) about the true meaning of business rule. Let’s set the record straight.
The OMG standard SBVR (Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules, 1.4) defines business rule as a rule that is practicable and is under business jurisdiction. The definition has these three parts: (1) rule, (2) practicable, and [...]

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Who (or What!) Makes Your Day-to-Day Business Decisions?

by Ronald G. Ross on August 8, 2016

Operational business decisions happen every minute of every day in your organization. You’d like to think that business managers can truly manage them. You’d also like to think that the results of those decisions are comprehensively correct, consistent, traceable, and repeatable (high quality). But are they? Based on real-life evidence I strongly suspect they often [...]

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The Story of Al’s Spreadsheet and Absent Brains

by Ronald G. Ross on August 1, 2016

I want to share with you the most intelligent thing I’ve ever heard a manager say on the fly. I’ll give some background first. In one way or another, the situation that evoked what she said may seem quite familiar to you.
A few years ago Gladys and I were invited to conduct a one-week facilitated [...]

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Governance, Compliance and Business Rules (Through Young Eyes)

by Ronald G. Ross on July 26, 2016

When my older son graduated from college, he worked as an intern for a professional sports team.  At the end of his very first day of work he called me, puzzled.  “I asked them what my responsibilities were,” he related, “and they said, ‘We need you to know what we are supposed to be doing’.”  [...]

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Six Succinct Reasons for Business Rules

by Ronald G. Ross on July 18, 2016

What business problems do business rules address?  My take:
1. Ad hoc rules: Most businesses have no organized approach for specifying their business rules. As a result, business workers often make up the rules as they go along. This leads to confusion, contradiction, and operational inefficiency. After-the-fact resolution of these problems wastes time and resources [...]

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Integration Without Business Rules. Really?!

by Ronald G. Ross on July 17, 2016

Consolidation is not the same thing as integration.  What does it really take to integrate business practices?  Let me illustrate with a thought experiment.
Imagine that the U.S., Canada, Cuba, Jamaica, and Japan were completely closed societies.  However, to invigorate their sports, each allows one visitor for one day each century to bring a new game [...]

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Activity vs Business Rule: Can You Always Tell the Difference?

by Ronald G. Ross on February 18, 2016

A Practitioner Wrote:The distinction between activities and business rules becomes very fuzzy when models grow very granular/detailed. Suppose I have a process called “Handle customer inquiries”, and an activity called “Close inquiry”, which has several small sub-steps, one of which is a “Send customer confirmation of solution by email”.  Is that sub-step a rule or [...]

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Concept Model vs. Data Model

by Ronald G. Ross on February 11, 2016

John Zachman says you can (and probably should) develop each of the following three kinds of artifacts to “excruciating level of detail”.
1. For the business management’s perspective (row 2), a conceptual model (roughly CIM in OMG terms).
2. For the architect’s perspective (row 3), a business logic design (roughly PIM in OMG terms).
3. For the [...]

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Business Rules and the Design of Business Processes

by Ronald G. Ross on February 4, 2016

Sample behavioral business rule: A customer that has placed an order must have an assigned agent.
A practitioner wrote: In process design this means that an activity ‘Assign agent’ must happen before an activity ‘Take order’.
My analysis: Here’s how behavioral business rules like this one should work according to standards[1]:

If the business rule is [...]

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Legality and Business Rules

by Ronald G. Ross on January 21, 2016

How does legality work with business rules?
To say that differently how should an intelligent tool work so as to help you establish the business regimen you want to follow where legality is involved?
Consider the example of Same-Sex Marriage. Let’s suppose you want to make it illegal.
SBVR[1] does not have an innate concept/approach for “legality” in [...]

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Controversial Concepts: How to Tackle Defining and Naming Them

by Ronald G. Ross on January 19, 2016

Guest Post by Markus Schacher
We should first agree on the semantics of underlying concepts and only then start to think about the best terms for those concepts.
One particular technique I often apply in such cases is the following:
1.    Name controversial concepts with proxy names such as “Greg”, “Mike” or “John” (or whatever name you prefer) [...]

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Lessons from Peggy Sue’s Diner

by Ronald G. Ross on November 20, 2015

Guest post by Keri Anderson Healy, Editor, www.BRCommunity.com
On our departure from this year’s Building Business Capability (BBC) conference in Las Vegas, we stopped at Peggy Sue’s Diner.  In 2013 I had sent you a photo of the “Non-Dairy” Creamer as a humorous example. This year I’m sending you the rest of the story … a lesson in [...]

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The Future for Processes: What about Cognitive Computing?

by Ronald G. Ross on November 12, 2015

People are asking why current processes are so dumb. For example, why can’t they:

learn from experience?
be more goal-driven?
dynamically balance between conflicting goals?

Some people suggest use of cognitive computing to help make processes smarter. I doubt anybody today really knows how far this idea can be taken. I can, however, say two things with certainty:

If you [...]

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The Future for Processes: What about Case Management?

by Ronald G. Ross on November 11, 2015

Many ‘processes’ people are looking to implement these days are clearly best viewed as case-oriented – e.g., patient care, mortgage applications, etc. Individual cases must be orchestrated through various states, often with undesirable or wayward transitions. There is significant variation in the paths that various cases take. Things just don’t always move along as predictably [...]

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