5 Steps for Successful Business Rules Management
Effective management of business rules, or decision logic, can dramatically reduce your organization’s costs and complexity, and streamline its implementation processes. But not all decision management initiatives are created equal. Projects that aren’t governed by industry best practices face a higher level of risk and increased likelihood of rework and resource drain.
The following five steps will help ensure that your business rules management project is a success.
- Get familiar
Before the advent of decision management, a relatively recent discipline that is still evolving, business logic could be found scattered across the entire enterprise – buried in business requirements documents as natural language narratives, business processes, the UI of applications, and in the heads of team members. Thankfully, those days are over and people now study decision management as they do any serious discipline.
A good starting point for understanding decision management is the book The Decision Model: A Business Logic Framework Linking Business and Technology by Barbara von Halle and Larry Goldberg. Chapter 7 describes how to get started in great detail. With this knowledge, you’ll be better able to communicate your specific needs to your solution vendor or project leader.
- Understand (and document) your pain
Before you decide on your approach, it is important to document your current practices and identify areas with the biggest challenges and the best opportunities for improvement. Differentiate between tangible, measureable criteria and those that are intangible. This information will be essential to document, so you can measure the impact of decision management on your company at a later date.
- Pick the right pilot
The objective of the pilot project is to prove the viability of decision management by creating tangible benefits. The pilot should be complex enough to show the breadth and depth of the new approach, but contained enough to be completed in a 3-6 month time frame. The project should cover an area that is of interest to business stakeholders to ensure that it catches the attention of the decision-makers.
Guidance from a third-party team of experts who have successfully implemented decision management previously is crucial. A good engagement model to follow is a “lead, train and mentor” approach.
- Look at the architecture
Decision modeling impacts enterprise architecture, business process and data management. Skilled decision architects will help develop a strong foundation and blueprint on how to seamlessly integrate decision management within an enterprise. Avoiding pitfalls is key to a successful implementation. Not having a decision architect on the pilot team relegates your project to a “trial and error” approach that could derail the entire initiative.
It is easy to get fully immersed in an ongoing project and forget to keep team members updated about progress. In many of our agile projects, we use Mingle by ThoughtWorks as a means to exchange information among the team and management. It is also important to host recurring meetings to contrast “before” and “after” scenarios, as well as lessons learned. Make an extra effort to send weekly and monthly project updates to maintain the visibility of the project, as well as a good rapport among team members.
By following the above tips, you’ll be on your way to establishing a centralized business logic repository that ensures consistency and accuracy across functions, departments and regions. For more information, click here.Share this blog post