Straight Talk (Part 4) The Big Picture

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 this four-part series Ron talks straight about business rules and why you need them.  This fourth and final part discusses what's really needed to move your organization to a new level of business capability.  Any business software solution that doesn't base itself on these new fundamentals will simply be LOD — legacy on delivery.

Let's stand back and think for a moment about the future of your business and its approach to business analysis.  What's really important?  My elevator pitch would comprise the following insights.

Insight 1.  Order-of-magnitude improvements in business agility are possible … and proven.

Every year for the past 15 years at the Business Rules & Decisions Forum Conference[1] we've heard one case study after another about how companies have dramatically improved business agility.  Time and time again they report having reduced the cycle time of deploying changes to business rules by an order of magnitude or more.  Extensive applied experience exists in the field — such initiatives are not at the bleeding edge.

What's actually required?  Two things:  Some new techniques and vision.  Are we to be forever prisoners of legacy?  Only if we let ourselves.

Insight 2.  Doing more of the same, just faster, won't get you there.

You'll never get to agile business via agile programming and development.  Not ever.

A requirements development and design methodology should result in high-quality systems that are inexpensive to maintain and cost-effective to enhance.  How well is yours really doing in that regard?

Insight 3.  It's not about working harder, just smarter.

Most of us are frankly already working about as hard as we can.  That's not the problem.  Rather, it's about working smarter — and producing more effective business solutions.  For that you need (true) business architecture.[2]

Insight 4.  It's about building business capability, not better business software (though that will happen).

Which of the following is directly about software?

  • Business rules.

  • Business architecture.

  • Business strategy.

  • Business processes.

  • Business vocabulary.

None of them!  Of course you can use software to manage and implement all those things, but that's a very different matter.

If they're not about software then what?  Architecting real solutions for real business challenges.  Building business-oriented, business-based business capability.

Any business software solution that doesn't base itself today on these new fundamentals will be LOD — legacy on delivery.  It's time we move beyond instant legacy.

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[1]  Refer to  return to article

[2]  Refer to Building Business Solutions:  Business Analysis with Business Rules by Ronald G. Ross and Gladys S.W. Lam, 2nd edition (published in mid-2015), an IIBA Sponsored Handbook, pp 8-9.  return to article

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Standard citation for this article:

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Ronald G. Ross, "Straight Talk (Part 4) The Big Picture" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 16, No. 9, (Sep. 2015)

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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