How Good Are You at Business Rule Analysis?

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

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?

  1. It is permitted that the lawn be mowed on Sunday only if the lawn mower is electric.

  2. It is prohibited that the lawn be mowed on Sunday if the lawn mower is not electric.

  3. 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).[1]

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©[2] equivalents — even more friendly:

  1. The lawn may be mowed on Sunday only if the lawn mower is electric.

  2. The lawn must not be mowed on Sunday if the lawn mower is not electric.

  3. (same as 2)

References

[1] For more about SBVR refer to https://www.brcommunity.com/standards.php

[2] Free on www.RuleSpeak.com

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Standard citation for this article:


citations icon
Ronald G. Ross , "How Good Are You at Business Rule Analysis?" Business Rules Journal Vol. 20, No. 3, (Mar. 2019)
URL: http://www.brcommunity.com/a2019/b984.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 IPSpeak 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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