James Taylor's Decision Management

James Taylor

Are there unwritten rules in your processes?

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I got a newsletter over the weekend with a very pertinent comment:

In our last newsletter, the Facilities Team announced that we were in negotiations for a facility. Unfortunately, undocumented rules in the city's building code were discovered which put a kibosh on that location
This is interesting because I know for a fact that the process of getting code approval is an automated one. Despite that automation, here is an application that was derailed because the rules for what uses are allowed for a facility were "undocumented". I imagine that at some point in the process a human reviewed the application and told the applicants about the unwritten rules.
One of the key benefits of using a decision management approach and a business rules management system is the elimination of this kind of problem. If a decision - whether a particular facility is suitable for a particular use in this case - has been identified, analyzed and automated then there are no unwritten rules. For government agencies and others looking to demonstrate transparency, the absence of unwritten rules is a must. Automating a process while leaving the rules unwritten is no longer going to be enough.
This story also illustrates that there are often two distinct kinds of rules being automated - those that are public and where both sides can know the rules and those that are private. Both kinds can and should be automated using a BRMS.
  1. In the former category we have rules from regulations, rules about completeness of applications and eligibility. By and large nothing is gained by hiding these rules and organizations that automate these rules and the decisions of which they are part can and should use the improved clarity offered by the approach to share and publish the rules.
  2. In the latter category are things like fraud detection rules. Organizations want to keep these secret to prevent "gaming" of the decision by someone. In this case the power of decision management and a BRMS is in making it easy to change and adapt those rules and by enabling the people who know best what they should be to change them directly.
So, kill those unwritten rules and get transparent with business rules and decision management.

1 Comment

LOL. If the US is anything like the UK, I suspect the undocumented rule may well specify the precise conditions under which money is added to a relative or friend's pocket.

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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