How Good Are You at Business Rule Analysis?
Suppose the following must be the case: If you mow the lawn on Sunday your lawn mower is to be electric; otherwise you are not to mow the lawn on Sunday. Can you understand that all three of the following business rule statements mean the same thing?
- It is permitted that the lawn be mowed on Sunday only if the lawn mower is electric.
- It is prohibited that the lawn be mowed on Sunday if the lawn mower is not electric.
- It is obligatory that the lawn not be mowed on Sunday if the lawn mower is not electric.
I'm fairly certain you can. And if you can determine they all mean the same thing, I contend a machine ought to be able to do so too. I mean as stated exactly, in this human-friendly, structured natural language form. In other words, machines should be able to detect that the statements in effect are redundant.
That's the kind of language-smart (cognitive) capability that business innovators should be expecting — no, demanding — from software vendors. Providing the foundation for such capability is the purpose of the OMG standard Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR).
In that standard, the three statements above are categorized as a restricted permission statement, a prohibition statement, and an obligation statement, respectively. You might prefer one or another of these forms of statements, but each is correct and reasonably understandable. Here are the RuleSpeak© equivalents — even more friendly:
- The lawn may be mowed on Sunday only if the lawn mower is electric.
- The lawn must not be mowed on Sunday if the lawn mower is not electric.
- (same as 2)
 For more about SBVR refer to https://www.brcommunity.com/standards.php
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