Agree/Disagree? 'Good Enough' Quality Will Do

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

Let's put you on the hot spot. You are forced to agree or disagree with the following statement, and defend your answer. What would you say?

In the digital enterprise, time to market is critical and 'good enough' quality will do.

Here's how I answer: I disagree. Here is my reasoning — see if you concur.

My reasoning: Yes, time to market can be critical. But no, 'good enough' quality will not do. Let me give you an example.

One of our clients is the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control. One of the projects we worked on was vaccines for children. Literally their lives are at stake. An 80% or 95% or even 99% quality rate is not good enough. That would mean 1 out of 100 children could die because of our mistakes. You'll never convince me that's acceptable.

But as I said, yes, time to market can be critical. Suppose a vaccine comes out for a new, virulent disease. Of course you want to disseminate the relevant business rules into the field ASAP.

I believe professionals' thinking about quality is characterized by several basic misconceptions.

Misconception 1:  One size fits all subject domains.

In some domains, quality is not the primary concern in dealing with quality and business rules. Take marketing. If you hit an 80% mark, sometimes you're considered a genius. Actually, in direct mail campaigns, 5% is great.

But in immunology, 80% means you could kill 20 of 100 children. That's a very big difference.

This is no esoteric matter. If 80% quality is adequate, you may not want to invest money in testing your business rules. Just roll out a solution as quickly as possible and save on testing. But if you need 99% or 99.99% quality, you'd better test your business rules long and hard.

Misconception 2: Testing of software and testing of business rules are inseparable.

Wrong! Testing of software and testing of business rules are completely separable. Whether software supporting some domain is glitch-free is a completely different issue than whether your business rules for that domain are correct, complete, and compliant. Proven methods exist for validating and verifying true business rules independently of applications. All it requires is the right approach.

For further information, please visit     

# # #

Standard citation for this article:

citations icon
Ronald G. Ross, "Agree/Disagree? 'Good Enough' Quality Will Do" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2, (Feb. 2017)

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

Read All Articles by Ronald G. Ross
Subscribe to the eBRJ Newsletter
In The Spotlight
 Silvie  Spreeuwenberg
 Jim  Sinur

Online Interactive Training Series

In response to a great many requests, Business Rule Solutions now offers at-a-distance learning options. No travel, no backlogs, no hassles. Same great instructors, but with schedules, content and pricing designed to meet the special needs of busy professionals.