RuleSpeak® ~ Templates and Guidelines for Business Rules

Ronald G.  Ross
Ronald G. Ross Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Executive Editor, Business Rules Journal and Co-Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC) Read Author Bio       || Read All Articles by Ronald G. Ross

In a memorable Newsletter article in the mid 1990s, Michael Stonebraker described SQL as 'intergalatic dataspeak.'  His point was not that SQL is the perfect language, but rather that big advantages accrue for both people and tools when everyone uses the same language.  A standard, even if imperfect, inevitably accelerates progress across a broad front.  It settles basic questions (at least for the time being) so people can get on with "real" work.  Equally important, by offering standard patterns of thought and expression, it becomes an enabler for widespread communication.

I believe that is exactly what's needed at this point in time for business rules.  I don't mean a standard for automating business rules it's too soon for that, I think.  Rather, I mean templates for thinking about business rules, and for expressing them at the level of interpersonal communication within and across businesses.  Our clients and colleagues also think this is important so important, in fact, that they have persuaded us to take action.

I am therefore pleased to announce that BRS will be making available (for free) its popular BRS RuleSpeakTM Practitioner Kit on  If you are looking for techniques to express your company's business rules in a consistent, well-structured manner, be sure to have a look.

Let me take a moment to describe what the Practitioner Kit involves.  First, the Kit does not introduce an automated language.  Instead, it is aimed at the human level of communication about business rules.  The Kit itself consists of two parts, as follows.

  • An easy-to-read set of best practices for expressing business rules.  This set includes dozens of "do's and don'ts," with many examples to illustrate.  These represent lessons learned (often the hard way) in over a decade of actual project work.

  • A complete set of sentence templates for the various kinds of rules.  These templates are not arbitrary, but rather are based on a fundamental categorization of rules (also explained in the offering).  Examples are provided for each category.

We are naturally quite excited about RuleSpeakTM -- it's the result of many years of thought and practice by the most knowledgeable and experienced business rule practitioners in the world.  We're not hoping for Stonebraker's intergalatic standards -- just more consistency and better results among us RuleSpeakers.

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Standard citation for this article:

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Ronald G. Ross, "RuleSpeak® ~ Templates and Guidelines for Business Rules" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 2, No. 5, (May 2001)

About our Contributor:

Ronald  G. Ross
Ronald G. Ross Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Executive Editor, Business Rules Journal and Co-Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC)

Ronald G. Ross is Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rule Solutions, LLC, where he actively develops and applies the BRS Methodology including RuleSpeak®, DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak.

Ron is recognized internationally as the "father of business rules." He is the author of ten professional books including the groundbreaking first book on business rules The Business Rule Book in 1994. His newest are:

Ron serves as Executive Editor of and its flagship publication, Business Rules Journal. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences world-wide. More than 50,000 people have heard him speak; many more have attended his seminars and read his books.

Ron has served as Chair of the annual International Business Rules & Decisions Forum conference since 1997, now part of the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference where he serves as Co-Chair. He was a charter member of the Business Rules Group (BRG) in the 1980s, and an editor of its Business Motivation Model (BMM) standard and the Business Rules Manifesto. He is active in OMG standards development, with core involvement in SBVR.

Ron holds a BA from Rice University and an MS in information science from Illinois Institute of Technology. Find Ron's blog on For more information about Ron visit Tweets: @Ronald_G_Ross

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