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,
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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What is the Future for Processes?

by Ronald G. Ross on November 9, 2015

To understand the future of processes, you must dig a little deeper than many people do.
Process thinking goes back well over a 100 years, to the origin of modern iron and automobile production. The raw materials and finished goods of such manufacturing and production processes are literally spatial – 3-dimensional. What can you do to [...]

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Quality and Tolerances in the Knowledge Economy

by Ronald G. Ross on October 29, 2015

Quality must be viewed very differently in the white-collar world. The traditional view simply doesn’t fit.
In Henry Ford’s day, for example, central to the concept of mass production was standardization of parts. That idea leads directly to the notion of manufacturing tolerances – i.e., upper and lower limits for parts in 3-dimensional space. The goal [...]

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Measuring Quality and Defects in the Knowledge Economy

by Ronald G. Ross on October 27, 2015

Everyone wants high quality from their business processes. But what exactly does quality mean these days? Let me tell you a quick story that recently got me thinking.
I like to eat toasted raisin bread in the morning. I even have a favorite brand. Every morning when I’m at home I eat several pieces. Over the [...]

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Are Processes and BPM Relevant in the Digital Economy?

by Ronald G. Ross on October 19, 2015

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that process and BPM are meaningless across the board in the digital economy. If you’re manufacturing or producing a physical product, you still do need to think in terms of a modeled and managed business process.
Other the other hand, if your products are non-physical – for example, [...]

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Pleased to Announce Release of Our New Book Edition!

by Ronald G. Ross on October 19, 2015

Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules (2nd Edition) … Just Out!
Get it on Amazon:
What It’s About: How to develop business solutions working directly with business leads, create blueprints of the solutions, and then use those blueprints for developing system requirements. Engineering business solutions, not just requirements.We have applied the techniques described in this [...]

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Wholeness: Insight for Expressing Business Rules Well

by Ronald G. Ross on June 30, 2015

The standard Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR)[1] 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 [...]

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