Business Rules Governance and Management – Part II – Definitions

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Business Rules Governance and Management

This post is part of a series on Business Rules Governance and Management for which the main article can be found here.

When working on a series, the first thing I usually like to do is to make sure the terms I use are well defined so that the readers know what context I was using them in, what the terms actually mean and to provide definitions that can then be used as a reference point for the rest of the posts. With that goal in mind, I researched the words governance and management and then tried to put them into the context of business rules.

I have found that in some articles or documents, the terms governance and management are used somewhat interchangeably but after doing the research, I wanted to make the distinctions and clarifications so that the context in which I use them is as clear as possible.

The resources I have used to build these definitions are listed at the end of the article.

There are 2 concepts that we need to define.

  • Business Rules Governance
  • Business Rules Management

The premise for this distinction is that Governance is at a higher level than Management. Management deals with the day to day operations and management of the rules. Governance deals with the stakeholders, processes, roles and responsibilities. Both work together for achieving the goal of better business rules governance and management.

Definition of business rules governance

Business rules governance relates to the establishment of leadership, organizational structures, communication and processes to ensure consistent decisions and management of business rules.

  • Leadership is the ability to influence stakeholders to move towards its goal setting or goal achievement.
  • Organizational structures; is the identification and assignment of decision rights. Roles are defined, and associated to those roles are responsibilities. Associated to those responsibilities is accountability.
  • Communication is a key role of governance. All stakeholders must be informed of the information that is relevant to them. Evangelization of the technology is also a key component of communication.
  • Processes provide the structure required for appropriate management of business rules. From processes we can identify required key performance indicators for measuring performance and appropriate control mechanisms to make sure the parties involved are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Definition of business rules management

Business rules management relates to the activities to support the discovery, analysis, authoring, validation, and deployment of the business rules so they meet the company business goals. It is responsible for the day to day execution of the established processes associated to business rules.

  • Discovery is the identification of the rules from different sources, documentation and traceability information
  • Analysis is the analysis of the rules to make them good business rules and their organization
  • Authoring is the actual implementation of the rules in the BRMS being used
  • Validation is the testing of the rules to make sure the outcome of the rules is as expected
  • Deployment is the deployment of the rules to User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and eventually production environments as well as any other steps to consider once the rules are deployed.

A Word on Steward/Stewardship

In some discussions, some will use the words steward and stewardship. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Stewardship as “The conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”

I usually think of a Rule Steward as the Lead of the Rule Management Team as well as the Representative of the Rule Management Team on the Rule Governance Team.

In other words, the Rule Steward is involved in all things related to Business Rules.

With the concepts better defined, I can now proceed with the rest of the topic. Next, we will have a look at the first steps.


Wikipedia page:

Towards Business Rule Stewardship and Governance,
by Brian Stucky (former Enterprise Rule Steward, Freddie Mac), Monday July 31, 2006

Do you know your business policy change templates?
by Pierre Berlandier

IBM Redbook, Implementing Technology to Support SOA Governance and Management

Series Navigation<< Business Rules Governance and Management – Part IBusiness Rules Governance and Management – Part III – First Steps >>

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