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FAQs Pertaining to Specific Principles

FAQ re: Principle 1.1
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "requirement" in principle 1.1?

Rules are a first-class citizen of the requirements world.

By "requirement" the Manifesto means something that is wanted or needed in the design of a system.


FAQ re: Principle 1.1
Question: By what criteria should a requirement be judged as 'first-class' according to Manifesto principle 1.1?

Rules are a first-class citizen of the requirements world.

A requirement may be considered first-class only if its communication does not depend on, or assume, any other artifact. In other words, the requirement can stand on its own.


FAQ re: Principle 1.2
Question: Does principle 1.2 of the Manifesto imply that rules should take the same form in both business models and technology models?

Rules are essential for, and a discrete part of, business models and technology models.

No.


FAQ re: Principle 2.1
Question: What is the sense of "behavior" in Manifesto principle 2.1?

Rules are explicit constraints on behavior and/or provide support to behavior.

The sense of "behavior" is how the business and the people involved in its activity behave - i.e., act (or react), perform or function. Activity that is automated should be viewed simply as extensions of business behavior; that is, rules also apply.


FAQ re: Principle 2.3
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "relevant" in principle 2.3?

Rules apply across processes and procedures. There should be one cohesive body of rules, enforced consistently across all relevant areas of business activity.

"Relevant" means "within scope". The Manifesto does not require that scope be the entire enterprise; it might be a single business area, business capability, or line of business. Also, Manifesto does not require that the scope be limited by the boundaries of a single enterprise (e.g., as in supply chains, regulated businesses, rule adoption, etc.)


FAQ re: Principle 3.2
Question: What is the sense of "facts make assertions" in Manifesto principle 3.2?

Terms express business concepts; facts make assertions about these concepts; rules constrain and support these facts.

The intended sense is "indicate things that are taken as true".


FAQ re: Principle 4.1
Question: Does principle 4.1 of the Manifesto prohibit use of if-then syntax to express rules?

Rules should be expressed declaratively in natural-language sentences for the business audience.

Syntax of the form "If [condition] then [derived fact]" is acceptable. (So is syntax of the form "[Derived fact] if [condition]".) Syntax of the form "If [condition] then [action]" is not acceptable; it is not declarative. (Also not acceptable is "[Action] if [condition]".)


FAQ re: Principle 4.2
Question: What is the sense of "cannot be expressed" in Manifesto principle 4.2?

If something cannot be expressed, then it is not a rule.

The intended sense is "can't be put into words" or "there's no way to say it". If you can't communicate it, it simply doesn't count.


FAQ re: Principle 4.3
Question: What kind of 'statements' is the Manifesto referring to in principle 4.3?

A set of statements is declarative only if the set has no implicit sequencing.

The Manifesto means any kind of expression, starting with, but not limited to, the statements found in application programs coded in procedural languages.


FAQ re: Principle 4.3
Question: Under principle 4.3 of the Manifesto, when is a set of statements not declarative?

A set of statements is declarative only if the set has no implicit sequencing.

Any set of statements whose evaluation produces a different result when the statements are listed in a different sequence is not a set of declarative rules.


FAQ re: Principle 4.4
Question: Why does Manifesto principle 4.4 maintain that "constructs other than terms and facts imply assumptions about a system implementation"?

Any statements of rules that require constructs other than terms and facts imply assumptions about a system implementation.

Rules expressed purely on the basis of terms and facts (predicates) can be evaluated using formal logic, which assumes no particular kind of system implementation. Any other construct implies bias toward some class of platform or implementation scheme. If rules are shaped by any system concern whatsoever, they are less able to be understood or validated in their right, and less easily redeployed.


FAQ re: Principle 4.5
Question: What is the sense of "enforcement" in Manifesto principle 4.5?

A rule is distinct from any enforcement defined for it. A rule and its enforcement are separate concerns.

The intended sense is "means of ..." or "method of ..." or "approach to ..." enforcement.


FAQ re: Principle 5.2
Question: Does 'consistency' in Manifesto principle 5.2 simply mean 'no contradictions'?

Business rules should be expressed in such a way that they can be verified against each other for consistency.

The goal is to detect any kind of anomaly within sets of rules - e.g., subsumptions, equivalences (producing redundancies), near identicals (for further inspection), etc.


FAQ re: Principle 6.3
Question: What kind of "action" is meant by Manifesto principle 6.3?

A business rule system must always be able to explain the reasoning by which it arrives at conclusions or takes action.

Actions that can be taken directly by a business rule system on the basis of rules include assertion of derived facts and response to breaches.


FAQ re: Principle 6.3
Question: How is a business rule system "able to explain [its] reasoning" as prescribed by Manifesto principle 6.3?

A business rule system must always be able to explain the reasoning by which it arrives at conclusions or takes action.

It can 'explain' its reasoning simply by revealing (logging) the particular rules used to arrive at each conclusion or to take any action.


FAQ re: Principle 6.4
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "truth values" in principle 6.4?

Rules are based on truth values. How a rule's truth value is determined or maintained is hidden from users.

The Manifesto means true/false. The implication is that 'under the covers' rule technology should be based on formal logic.


FAQ re: Principle 6.5
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "event" in principle 6.5?

The relationship between events and rules is generally many-to-many.

By "event" the Manifesto simply means "something that happens" in business activity.


FAQ re: Principle 6.5
Question: Why is principle 6.5 of the Manifesto explicit about the relationship between events and rules being generally many-to-many?

The relationship between events and rules is generally many-to-many.

A rule harvested from a procedural artifact (e.g., a process, a procedure, a use case, procedural program, etc.) is often based on, oriented toward, or managed around a specific event. The possible wider applicability of the rule is often overlooked, leading to serious inconsistencies or omissions. A rule expressed declaratively in contrast puts no unnatural restrictions on the rule's applicability.


FAQ re: Principle 7.1
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "boundary" in principle 7.1?

Rules define the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable business activity.

All business activity deemed unacceptable should be specified using rules. By this means, the business reason for any breach is always directly accessible to business people - no IT intervention required. In addition, appropriate response to breaches can be 'plugged in' (and easily modified) at the exact point the breaches occur in business activity. Finally, such responses can be managed as a business proposition, separately from other programming concerns - again, no IT intervention required.


FAQ re: Principle 7.2
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "special or selective handling of detected violations" in principle 7.2?

Rules often require special or selective handling of detected violations. Such rule violation activity is activity like any other activity.

Some particular response is often appropriate when a breach of a rule occurs. Such response may be specific to circumstances - e.g., what role or user produced the breach, where in a process the breach occurs, etc. The response might be in the form of some customized message, some set of instructions, some process or procedure, some sanction or penalty, some additional rule or set of rules, some form of human intervention, etc. For additional discussion refer to http://goo.gl/MFxtN.


FAQ re: Principle 7.2
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "Such rule violation activity is activity like any other activity" in principle 7.2?

Rules often require special or selective handling of detected violations. Such rule violation activity is activity like any other activity.

No new or different technique is needed to model activity that occurs as a response to breaches of rules. For example, if the activity involves a process, that process can be modeled in the same fashion as any other process.


FAQ re: Principle 8.1
Question: What is the sense of "business practice and guidance" in Manifesto principle 8.1?

Rules are about business practice and guidance; therefore, rules are motivated by business goals and objectives and are shaped by various influences.

The intended sense covers coordination of operational business activity, as well as the know-how associated with the product/service(s).


FAQ re: Principle 8.1
Question: What kind of 'influences' is the Manifesto referring to in principle 8.1?

Rules are about business practice and guidance; therefore, rules are motivated by business goals and objectives and are shaped by various influences.

Refer to pp. 27-34 of the Business Motivation Model (BMM - 1.4) available on http://www.businessrulesgroup.org/bmm.shtml.


FAQ re: Principle 8.2
Question: What kind of 'costs' is the Manifesto referring to in principle 8.2?

Rules always cost the business something.

"Costs" are meant to include both direct costs (e.g., the people, money, etc. required to administer rules) and indirect costs (e.g., the learning curves, organizational adjustments, etc. of affected workers). "Costs" do not, however, include costs of transition to a rules approach. There are naturally costs associated with transition to any new approach.


FAQ re: Principle 8.4
Question: What does Manifesto mean by principle 8.4?

'More rules' is not better. Usually fewer 'good rules' is better.

Many companies have dozens of exceptions to every rule, making management, dissemination and enforcement of rules difficult and expensive. Having a smaller number of good rules is preferable, where "good" is measured in terms of productivity, agility, and achievement of business goals.


FAQ re: Principle 8.5
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "system" in principle 8.5?

An effective system can be based on a small number of rules. Additional, more discriminating rules can be subsequently added, so that over time the system becomes smarter.

The intended sense is "IT system" or "application system". The same thought applies, however, to viewing some part of the business (or all of it) as a "system".


FAQ re: Principle 9.2
Question: What is the sense of "formulate" in Manifesto principle 9.2?

Business people should have tools available to help them formulate, validate, and manage rules.

The intended sense includes "develop", and "express" or "articulate". Business people should have friendly, interactive tools that assist directly in correct use of vocabulary and in creating well-formed statements of business rules in structured natural language.


FAQ re: Principle 9.2
Question: Why does the Manifesto mandate tools in principle 9.2?

Business people should have tools available to help them formulate, validate, and manage rules.

Only small collections of relatively simple business rules can be effectively validated by business people without automated assistance. Beyond that point, tools are needed.


FAQ re: Principle 9.3
Question: Does 'consistency' in Manifesto principle 9.3 mean 'no contradictions'?

Business people should have tools available to help them verify business rules against each other for consistency.

The idea is to detect any kind of anomalies within sets of rules - e.g., subsumptions, equivalences (producing redundancies), near identicals (for further inspection), etc.


FAQ re: Principle 10.3
Question: What does Manifesto mean by "hardware/software platforms" in principle 10.3?

Business rules should be organized and stored in such a way that they can be readily redeployed to new hardware/software platforms.

The intended sense is "machines or software systems capable of supporting some type of business activity". The same thought applies, however, to new business capabilities (i.e., to viewing some new part of the business as a "system").


FAQ re: Principle 10.4
Question: What is the sense of "adaptability" in Manifesto principle 10.4?

Rules, and the ability to change them effectively, are fundamental to improving business adaptability.

The intended sense is "an ability to adjust nimbly to changing circumstances, emerging risks, or new opportunities" - in other words, agility.

References:

[1] The Manifesto is free, only 2 pages long, translated into 15 languages. Have a quick look (or re-look!). No sign up required. Well worth your time.

FAQs Pertaining to Specific Principles

 

 

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