Business Rules

Most organizations produce unwieldy narrative documents to cover business rules, process specifications and project requirements. Readers get used to scanning text to extract meaning from these documents without too much effort. But a document has a overarching structure and intention that they must also understand. This involves keeping an eye on an often multi-layered Table of Contents, and navigating back and forth between many different parts: introductions, body text, summaries… Content tends to be repeated in multiple places with slight changes, a form of lack of clarity.

The promise of business rules

The promise of the business rules approach, as advocated eminently by Ronald G. Ross in the United States, has always been that business logic may be captured instead in concise, atomic statements of natural language, that are single points of truth. The revolutionary implications of this idea often remain unrecognized. Terms, definitions and rules may be exposed to a business community as a structured and navigable network of easy-to-grasp truths for a wide range of stakeholders.

A document culture

Meanwhile, the idea of writing, routing, versioning, and signing off lengthy documents is so much part of the business culture of large organizations today that they would be ill-advised to do away with document orientation. All the same, there really is scope for modernization here. Tooling around SBVR could ease the transition to more visionary practices and formats, for example by offering good reporting functions on a repository of terminology, business rules and project requirements.