Why 'Fact' Isn't Used in the Business Agility Manifesto

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

The word 'fact' is never used in the Business Agility Manifesto.[1] Nor is it used in any of the definitions of core terms, the Preface, the Management Imperatives, or the SideBar for IT Project Professionals.

Wise choice. The question about how facts relate to knowledge is one of the deepest and knottiest problems in philosophy.[2] There is no easy answer, and lots and lots of quicksand for the unwary.

The Manifesto defines business knowledge as follows:

the total set of business concepts, their organizing connections, and the business rules upon which the existence of the business depend

If you want to see 'facts' as part of 'organizing connections' that's fine. Nobody can argue because the Manifesto doesn't actually define 'organizing connections'. But I wouldn't.

Many people would see 'facts' as what is held in databases. My view is that the content of databases is information, not knowledge. That view is based on the idea that information always comes from the outside, but knowledge is what we manufacture internally (in our minds). What kinds of things do we manufacture internally? Definitions (concept models) and business rules[3].

The point is that it is not enough simply to compile information about the business; to truly 'know' something you must manufacture (capture) meaning for it. Otherwise you will drown in information. So 'concept model' is mentioned no less than four times in the Manifesto proper. 

In short, I believe that there is something different about operating in the Knowledge Age as opposed to (merely) the Information Age. We have crossed a fundamental threshold and now we need to think and act differently.


[1] The Business Agility Manifesto: Building for Change, by Roger T. Burlton, Ronald G. Ross and John A. Zachman, (2017), https://busagilitymanifesto.org/

[2] See section 1 of https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/facts/

[3] Remember that business rules are interpretations of acts, laws, contracts, agreements, etc., not the source statements themselves.

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Standard citation for this article:

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Ronald G. Ross, "Why 'Fact' Isn't Used in the Business Agility Manifesto" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 19, No. 12, (Dec. 2018)
URL: http://www.brcommunity.com/a2018/b976.html

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 BRCommunity.com 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 http://www.brsolutions.com/category/blog/. For more information about Ron visit www.RonRoss.info. Tweets: @Ronald_G_Ross

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