Why Every Business Analyst Should Be Able to Model Business Decisions

A decision model being edited

Introduction

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.

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New Book Release: Real-World Decision Modeling with 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 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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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.

New Book: Real-World Decision Modeling with DMN

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 dmn front coverModeling 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.

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Invitation: Workshop on Enterprise Decision Modeling in Practice

We cordially invite you to join us in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, for a workshop on how Decision Modeling can optimise your organisation’s management of its most fundamental and valuable asset: the business logic that controls the thousands of automated business decisions it makes every day. We will present case studies, based on real projects, that demonstrate the practical benefits of applying TDM and DMN to the management of business logic at an enterprise scale.

Click here now to find our more details and register for this free workshop in Amersfoort on Wednesday 28th January 2015 from 9am to 4pm. During this workshop you: will learn how The Decision Model (TDM), fortified by elements of the DMN, can be used to structure, manage and optimise your business logic; experience a walk-through of a real decision model and understand the benefits decision management brings at the enterprise scale.

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What is a Fact Model? Why Should You Have One?

Planning on building business rules or automating your business decisions? Then, as part of your business analysis, you need a fact model. But what is this? How can you build one? Why should you significantly invest in building one as soon as you can and how will you recognise a good one when you have built it?

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