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James Taylor's Decision Management

James Taylor

Looking at code from both sides with business rules

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Sharon Machlis had a great piece over on Computerworld titled Opinion: I've looked at code from both sides now on her experience of being a developer on a project where she was usually a user. It's an interesting experience that she describes and I was struck particularly by a couple of comments. First, she described the user's typical experience wonderfully:

having great need for improved technology to boost efficiency but little ability to make it happen.

and this, of course, is one of the reasons they can become so frustrated with developers and with the systems they must use. As I have said many times on this blog (most recently in this piece on getting business/IT alignment) I strongly believe that using a business rules approach to managing decision logic in a systems offers great opportunities to bring users to the point where they have some ability to make improvements happen or at least to collaborate on making such improvements.

The second great phrase was when she talked about the need to:

Show, don't tell. Or as Matt Wait, key developer for the Pulitzer Prize-winning political database Politifact, says: Demos, not memos.

And if you are using business rules to manage the decision logic then you can site with the business users, change the rules and see what the change would do (thanks to the increasing availability of simulation tools).

Business rules won't solve all your problems but it might reduce the number of degrees of separation between your business people and IT staff.

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Thanks for the kind words! I'm deeply involved with coding change requests now during a couple of weeks of beta testing, and it's been a fascinating experience for someone who's usually a user making the requests. :-)

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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