Ruleflows Considered Harmful

Ruleflows Considered Harmful

For some time users of Business Rule Management Systems (BRMS) have used rule execution sequence as a means of binding together and orchestrating the rules in a set—providing a ‘top level’ view of their content. Nearly all BRMS products have enshrined this idea in the ‘ruleflow’ concept. In many of these products the creation of a ruleflow is seen as a standard step in packaging a rule set and many rule authors find it a natural activity.

We argue, using an example, that not only are flows rarely required, but that they are frequently harmful to the agility of a rule set, can introduce harmful and hard to find errors and can make rule sets difficult to understand by business users. Furthermore, users frequently misunderstand the goal of ruleflows and misuse them.

We show that there is an alternative to ruleflows that orchestrates rules (especially large rule sets) more effectively and is easier to understand—the business decision model. (more…)

Book Review: Process and Decision Modeling in BPMN/DMN

Book Review: Process and Decision Modeling in BPMN/DMN

Thankfully, Tom Debevoise and James Taylor have recently joined forces to address the drought of books on DMN and its integration with BPMN. They have updated the former’s Microguide to Processing Modeling in BPMN to include decision modeling and published it as the Microguide to Process and Decision Modeling in BPMN/DMN. As an admirer of both Tom’s precise, example-laden earlier work and James’ impressive work on decision management, I have a very high opinion of their book. See why here… (more…)

BPM’s New Use for Ad-Hoc Subprocesses

BPM’s New Use for Ad-Hoc Subprocesses

In BPMN, an ad-hoc subprocess is one which has no sequence: the order in which their constituent tasks are performed is unknown or unspecified. The tasks therein not only have no stipulated running order, they don’t have to execute at all. Until recently, when modelling business processes, I’d use ad-hoc processes to denote business activities for which order was irrelevant or ‘unknowable’. But the use of BPM tools has thrown up a new rationale for ad-hoc processes. One which may make their use considerably more common… (more…)