Streamlining Processes With Business Rules
Watch Gladys' latest video blog entry below.
At Business Rules Solutions, we're big fans of "policy busting," something we encourage analysts to do before attempting to change their processes. One of our clients in New Zealand coined the term 'policy busting' for the work we had done for them. Essentially, before we redesigned their business processes, we challenged their existing policies. What they found was that some of their policies had existed for many years and the reasons why they had been created no longer applied. Once we had "busted" their core policies, redesigning their processes followed organically.
If you change your processes without changing your policies, you're basically just shuffling things around without making any actual improvements.
Business Rules Guide Business Processes
When you design your processes, you also need to create rules to guide behavior and make decisions.
When collaborating with organizations that have done a lot of work in process management, I often come across overly-complex process models. These models, frequently spanning pages and pages, are very hard to follow. Why are they so big? Often, it is because a lot of rules are imbedded in your process model. If you see a lot of diamonds nested together in your process model, you have a lot of rules.
My Advice? Externalize those Rules
The advice I give in this case is the following: extract those rules and manage and represent them separately. Your process model will be more simple and easy to follow, and you, your stakeholders, and your teams will be much happier.
We worked with a large pharmaceutical company in New Jersey who came to us with a 30-plus page business process model that no one, according to the manager, could follow or understand. So what did we do? You've guessed it — we extracted the rules from the process model and brought it down to four pages.
The result? A clearer, more straightforward business process model that made sense to everyone.
Remember, process is about doing the work; rule is about providing guidance and making decisions. Two sides of the same coin!
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