New Book Release: Real-World Decision Modeling with DMN

The front cover of our new book on Decision Modeling in DMN

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 (soon) 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.

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Why Decision Modeling? (In 1000 Words)

Decision Models Specify Business Logic

In a recent article we explained why any organisation that makes business decisions needs decision management, what it is and how it helps them become more effective.

Decision Management is a means of explicitly identifying your business’s operational decisions—much as you would any other vital business asset (like data or process)— so that you can describe, share, change manage and monitor their performance to see how they are contributing towards your enterprise goals. Decision Modeling focuses on representing decisions in a precise, standardized way.

Through Decision Modeling businesses can build and share a robust documentation of how their business decisions work, rendering them transparent and open to wide review. Modeling reveals how decisions can be decomposed into smaller sub-decisions for scalability and exactly what data and business knowledge are required to support them. This thorough understanding of decision dependencies enables effective impact assessments and leads to agile change cycles.

Modeling is also the first step in automating decisions to reduce the cost of manual processes and capturing the expertise of manual decisions to avoid losing business expertise when key members of staff leave a company.

If your business systems make manual or automated decisions that influence your operations then you need to adopt Business Decision Modeling as a matter of priority. Companies that leave their business decisions embedded in obscure program code, ‘technical’ business rules or in the heads of staff who manage manual operations, will be outmaneuvered by competitors who practice Decision Management and Decision Modeling. In this article we explain the reasons why Decision Modeling is so important to your enterprise.

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How DMN is Different

DRD with one Knowledge Source with authority from another.

In a recent article on the LinkedIn Group ‘The Decision Model and Notation (DMN)’, and on his own blog, Bruce Silver elegantly described why DMN is different to (and better than) other means of representing business decision models and asserted that these differences are set to make DMN of crucial importance to businesses that rely on their operational decisions. While I agree with Bruce’s feature list, I have some reservations about some of his observations.

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Introduction to Decision Modeling 6

The front cover of our new book on Decision Modeling in DMN

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 firstsecondthirdfourth and fifth posts of this series. Find out more about decision modeling and its benefits. Talk to us about decision modeling mentoring and training.

Introduction to Decision Modeling 5

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 firstsecondthird 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.

Introduction to Decision Modeling 4

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 why we decided to write a book, including:

  • Why the DMN specification is good standards document, but not ideal way for users to learn decision modeling
  • Who our book is aimed at and what it aims to achieve
  • The content readers can expect: best practices, patterns and examples from our project experience

 

Let us know what you think. Review the firstsecond and third 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 the differences between decisions and business rules.

Introduction to Decision Modeling 3

Why should you use a standard approach to model business decisions and why is DMN the best standard we have currently?

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 how to model decisions, including:

  • Why use a standard technique for modeling your companies business decisions
  • Why is the Decision Model and Notation (DMN) the best standard available currently

Let us know what you think. Review the first and second 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 why a book on DMN is needed when there is already a documented standard.

Introduction to Decision Modeling 2

Why should organizations invest time and effort to model their business decisions? What is the ‘bottom-line’ benefit?

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 advantages of modeling, including:

  • The practical benefits of the approach: time to market, transparency and improved requirements integrity.
  • How it improves communication among distributed teams of business analysts, subject matter experts and developers.
  • The gains of separating business decisions from business processes.
  • How decision modeling boosts the effectiveness of analytics, data needs analysis and change management.

Let us know what you think. Review the first post of this series. Find out more about decision modeling. Talk to us about decision modeling mentoring and training.

In our next post we’ll consider how to model decisions and why it’s best to use a standard.

Introduction to Decision Modeling 1

What is business decision modeling and how to do organization use it to capture their key commercial assets?

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 decisions. In this brief video,  James and I talk about business decisions and modeling, including:

  • What is a business decision?
  • Why are they so important?
  • What is Decision Modeling and what can it achieve?

We hope you find it useful.

Find out more about decision modeling. Talk to us about decision modeling mentoring and training.

In our next video short we examine why decision modeling is useful.

Our DMN 2.0 Wish List II: Decision Requirements

DMN possible notation for fan-in

While James Taylor and I were collaborating on our Decision Modelling book and discussing our experiences of using DMN with clients, the question “what additional features should be adopted in the next major release?” frequently arose. We found that our respective wish lists had a lot in common, reflecting our views on decision modeling best practice. We decided to describe these proposed new features in a series of posts and encourage readers to give their own opinions.

We’ve already explained our wishes for the decision logic level of the standard. Here we consider the requirements level, mainly the Decision Requirements Diagram (DRD). As with the previous article in this series, wish items were constrained to new or amended notation, not method or approach.

Given this, do you agree with our items? What features would you like to see included in the decision requirements level of the standard?

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Our DMN 2.0 Wish List I: Decision Logic

Decision Table with enumeration type in value list

While James Taylor and I were collaborating on our Decision Modelling book and discussing our experiences of using DMN with clients, the question “what additional features should be adopted in the next major release?” was a frequent subject of conversation. We found that our respective wish lists had a lot in common, reflecting our views on decision modeling best practice. We decided to describe these proposed new features in a series of posts and encourage readers to give their own opinions.

DMN (The Decision Model and Notation) is a way of representing  Decision Models using diagrams and text; it does not address issues such as method or approach. Therefore wishes must be constrained to new or amended notation. Given this, do you agree with our items? What features would you like to see included in the decision logic level of the standard?

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