In this article I propose that every business analyst should be capable of identifying and modeling business decisions precisely and transparently. They should use a prescribed, standard format to describe decision-making that can be understood by other analysts with minimal explanation, rather than the individualistic, ad-hoc spreadsheets, text documents or technical business rules that they so often use today. Business analysts should be as proficient in modelling decision as they are with data or process and decision modeling should be a recognized as a ‘tool of the trade’. Being able to precisely represent business data, process and decisions should be seen as essential to the analyst role.
Without this skill, vital business knowledge will be buried in the volumes of incoherent verbiage that constitutes most written specifications; lost in the heads of SMEs who ultimately leave the company; or obscured in millions of lines of programming code or equally obscure excel spreadsheets where it may safely hide without fear of discovery.
I am pleased to announce the release of James Taylor’s and my comprehensive guide to decision modeling with the Object Management Group’s Decision Model and Notation (DMN) standard. The book, “Real-World Decision Modeling with DMN”, has been published by Meghan-Kiffer Press and is now on general release, available from Amazon in paper and Kindle versions. It is also available from Barnes and Noble.
Decision Modeling is an important technique for improving the effectiveness, consistency and agility of an organization’s operational decisions and a vital enabler of the continuous improvement of its business processes. DMN is a standard that is integrated with many other established industry standards. It has been created by experienced practitioners and is maintained by the Object Management Group (OMG; a prominent standards authority). It is flexible and extensible. It is already supported by over 14 software tools. Indeed, DMN represents the most complete and best supported means of modeling business decisions that is currently available or likely to become available in the near future.
“A well-defined, well-structured approach to Decision Modeling (using the OMG international DMN standard) gives a repeatable, consistent approach to decision-making and also allows the crucial ‘why?’ question to be answered—how did we come to this point and what do we do next? The key to accountability, repeatability, consistency and even agility is a well-defined approach to business decisions, and the standard and this book gets you there.”
— Richard Mark Soley, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, Object Management Group, Inc.
Ahead of the publication of our joint book on Decision Modeling, to be released later this year, James Taylor and I have made a series of video shorts about business decision modeling. In this last video, James and I talk about real benefits that decision modeling using DMN delivered to our clients on some recent engagements. Specifically we discuss how the use of decision modeling:
- Speeds up business rule and data requirements discovery, quickly identifying wrong assumptions and mistakes
- Adds effective communication and consistency between teams and across projects
- Improved business subject matter experts, analyst, developer and program manager engagement and ownership
- Managing size, complexity and rapid change in business requirements
- Improves the definition of the automation boundary
- Gave better tracability between internal decision definitions and external regulations
Let us know what you think. Review the first, second, third, fourth and fifth posts of this series. Find out more about decision modeling and its benefits. Talk to us about decision modeling mentoring and training.
Ahead of the publication of our joint book on Decision Modeling, to be released later this year, James Taylor and I have made a series of video shorts about business decision modeling. In this brief video, James and I talk about the real difference between business rules and business decisions, including:
- How rules and decisons differ for the business organization that defines them
- Their different relationships with the business process
- Their different business value
Let us know what you think. Review the first, second, third and fourth posts of this series. Find out more about decision modeling. Talk to us about decision modeling mentoring and training.
In our next post we’ll discuss our experience of using decision modeling with clients and how they benefited from the technique.
I’m very pleased to announce my collaboration with James Taylor, CEO of Decision Management Solutions, on a definitive guide to Decision Modeling with the Object Management Group’s Decision Model and Notation (DMN) standard. Our book, “Real-World Decision Modeling with DMN”, will be published by Meghan-Kiffer Press in Q4-2016.
James has a vast experience of Decision Modeling and is a prominent member of the Object Management Group (OMG) panel that designed the DMN standard. He practically invented the term Decision Management. Like us, he has been applying Decision Modeling techniques to help companies master and improve their Business Decisions since the first standards emerged over five years ago. James is an insightful, shrewd and accomplished man and working with him is a real pleasure. We both aim to enrich the book with our practical experience of using DMN on large projects.
This comprehensive book will provide a complete explanation of the Decision Modeling technique, the DMN standard and of the business benefits of using it. Full of examples and best practices developed on real projects, it will help new decision modelers to quickly get up to speed while also providing crucial patterns and advice for more those with more experience.
This book has been published since this article was written. Find out more details about the release.