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James Taylor's Decision Management

James Taylor

Agile decisioning

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Brad Appleton recently wrote a piece on Agile Development Distilled that had a couple of interesting lists - he was designing a single Powerpoint slide to explain agile to someone. I thought both his lists were great and thought I would try and map them to decisioning and decision technology. Here's the first one:

  • Close Collaboration
    The use of business rules to define business logic can dramatically increase the level of collaboration between the business and IT on a project. I wrote about this on ebizQ in this article
  • Continuous Validation
    Business rules, being declarative and largely independent from each other, really help with this too. As each new rule can be tested and confirmed quickly and as new rules or changed rules are much less likely to break the system, continuous validation becomes more practical.
  • Frequent Iteration
    Because business users can be engaged in the management of business rules directly (as long as you make some effort to do so), the pace of iteration in business logic can be stepped up dramatically and continued long after the last programming iteration.
  • Dynamic Adaptation
    I am not 100% sure what Brad was getting at here but I think the greater flexibility of logic coded in business rules lends itself to adaption much more readily than code.

The second one he based on the Rational Unified Process' list of 6 characteristics but its good too:

  1. Adapt to Change
    Business rules are ready for change-time and easy to adapt to change.
  2. Prioritize Scope
    Separating out the business rules and getting the business involved in writing them frees up engineering effort to work on technical pieces and so makes prioritization easier by increasing the effective resources available.
  3. Collaborate Across Teams
    If the teams are business and IT teams, and they often are, business rules will make collaboration much easier.
  4. Demonstrate Value Iteratively
    Again, the use of business rules means that each iteration can easily have more and better rules, adding value.
  5. Elevate the Level of Automation
    Business rules management systems support things like live update of changed rules, release management, version control etc. and this means that this issues have automated support.
  6. Continuously Validate Quality
    Business rules are easier to read, easier to check and more likely to be right. Better quality all round.

So if you want agile, get business rules too. I have written about the power of busienss rules in an agile approach before on my other blog - agile rules - a conversation with Scott Ambler - and I wrote a piece on Agile and business rules for InfoQ.

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James Taylor blogs about decision-management technologies such as predictive analytics and business rules, discussing how they deliver agility, improve business processes and bring intelligent automation to SOA.

James Taylor

James Taylor blogs on decision management for ebizQ, and is an independent consultant on decision management, predictive analytics, business rules, and related topics.

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