In the fast-changing world in which we live, an organisation, in order to survive, needs to have agility. Most business theorists define agility as the ability of a business enterprise to run profitably in a rapidly changing fragmenting global market environment by producing quality, high-performance and customer-targeted goods and services.
One of the key principles of an agile approach is that a company, its people and its systems developers need to welcome changing business requirements, as the ability to incorporate these changes can mean a distinct competitive advantage is gained.
What happens, though, when the changing requirement is not, after all, a new requirement, but rather the same requirement with a new or changed business rule? If, for instance, new legislation is passed which has an impact on your project, can your agile development processes work as well for business rules as they do for other kinds of requirements, and how do we do this?
Ron Ross, an international leading expert in business rules and one of the Principals of Business Rule Solutions, defines business rules as: "A guide for conduct or action; a criteria on which a decision or judgement may be based." He goes on to say that the major goals of business rules are:
* To enable the business to make good, consistent operational decisions. An operational decision is where some minute-to-minute, day-to-day determination must be made in performing business activity; and
* To retain know-how. A business rule is explicit, not tacit, so if you lose the person, you don't lose the knowledge.
Ross and his Co-Principal Gladys Lam go on to define rule management as "the skills, techniques and processes needed to express, analyse, trace, retain and manage the decision logic used in day-to-day business operations. The goals of rule management include the management of these as a business rather than a technical issue; the making of business rules directly accessible to those who need them; and ensuring that business policies, regulations and contractual obligations are interpreted in a consistent, repeatable and transparent way." This allows for changing business requirements and rules to be incorporated and managed in a sustainable and coherent fashion in keeping with the company's vision and strategy.
Ross and Lam will be visiting South Africa for the second time in May this year, having been guest speakers at the second South African Business Analysis Conference held last year. While here, they will present two workshops in Johannesburg. The first, entitled: Business Analysis with Business Rules: From Strategy to Requirements details the innovative techniques needed for a business-driven approach. Delegates will learn how to conduct successful business analysis with business rules, how to write business rules and how to model decisions while receiving immediate feedback.
According to Lam, participants will learn new techniques to discover missing requirements "that do not come naturally from process models or use cases or anywhere else. Participants will create great business solutions, not just system designs."
The second workshop: Business Rule & Decision Analysis: Practitioner Masterclass supplies proven, pragmatic solutions and techniques to fix problems which arise when business processes do not produce correct and consistent results. "It provides the steps you need to take before implementing business rules on a project or system," says Lam.
Both two-day, interactive workshops featuring hands-on exercises would strongly benefit business analysts responsible for engineering business solutions, business people and subject matter experts wanting to express and analyse requirements in a truly business-oriented manner, business process designers responsible for re-engineering and quality improvements, IT professionals, business rules analysts, project leaders, consultants and requirements specialists.
For further information about Business Analysis with Business Rules: From Strategy to Requirements running on 20 and 21 May, and Business Rule & Decision Analysis: Practitioner MasterClass on 22 and 23 May, in Johannesburg, please visit www.fti.co.za or contact Lauren on (011) 807-9478 or e-mail Lauren@fti.co.za to book your seat.