Business Rules Governance and Management – Part VII – Management Processes

This entry is part 7 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.

In the previous post, I discussed the rule life cycle and mentioned that it may be a good starting point for discussions on the management processes.

We can now focus our attention to the rule management processes. The following list of processes is by no means an all encompassing list, but can definitely be used to figure out what specific processes your organization needs.

  • Rule authoring process
  • Rule testing and validation process
  • Rule deployment process
  • Rule execution monitoring
  • Rule failure management process
  • Rule retirement process
  • Rule change management process

In the following paragraphs, I will try to provide a quick description and context for the process and some questions that might need to be answered and that will hopefully help guide the development of the process. Note that some of these processes can be related to the rule life cycle discussed in the previous post. The development of the life cycle may affect these processes and vice-versa.

Rule authoring process

The Rule Authoring Process is not simply focused on the task of writing the rule. The process needs to start from the Policy people that are creating a new rule, to the analysis of that rule, to the formalization of the rule and finally to the implementation (or authoring) of the rule.

Associated questions

  • Who can come up with new rules?
  • What is the scope of the new rules (number, complexity, etc.)?
  • Who is responsible for the analysis and formalization of the rule?
  • Who is responsible for the implementation of the rule?
  • Is there an approval process before each new step can start?
  • Do we need traceability of the changes?

Rule testing and validation process

The Rule testing and validation process is there to make sure that appropriate testing gets performed for the rules that have been developed.

Associated questions

  • When can testing begin?
  • What information is required prior to testing?
  • Are simulations required? (Simulating the change over a population to evaluate the effect of the changes)
  • Is there an approval process?
  • Do we need traceability of the approvals?

Rule deployment process

Based on the rule life cycle, once the rules have been tested and validated, there should be a deployment process to put these rules in production

Associated questions

  • Where do these rules need to be deployed?
  • When should the rules be deployed? (specific day, dates, times, etc.)
  • Are these rules replacing a set of existing rules?
  • Is there an approval process?

Rule execution monitoring process

After the rules have been deployed and are executing, there is usually a process for monitoring the production environment

Associated questions

  • What are the monitoring requirements immediately after deployment?
  • Are the monitoring requirements the same after one week or one month in production?
  • What are the reporting requirements? Who are the reports sent to?
  • Example requirements: Execution statistics, Performance, warnings, non critical errors, 24/7/365, etc.

Rule failure management process

This process is one of the most important processes, and is the one you don’t want to ever have to use. What happens when there is a failure?

Associated questions

  • How are we monitoring for failures?
  • Which type and urgency of the failures?
  • What is the failure recovery process for each type of failure?
  • Who needs to be notified?
  • What is the escalation process?
  • Is support from a vendor available?

Rule retirement process

A rule or a set of rules has been in production for a while. Now it is time to remove them from production.

Associated questions

  • Who can ask for removing of rules?
  • Is there an approval process?
  • How do we make sure that only the specific rules are removed?
  • Is post-retirement testing of the remaining rules required?
  • When should this take place?
  • Where should it take place?

Rule change management process

I have listed the rule change management process separately because it can become a meta-process which will actually use some of the simpler processes detailed above.

Change management needs to take into account many situations and is probably one of the processes that will require the most work. One key point to remember is that all changes are not created equal. Some changes will require a very light process to implement whereas other changes will need a much more involved process because of the type, scope or complexity of the change.

Associated questions:

  • Who can make a change request?
  • How is the scope of the change request evaluated?
  • What is the complexity of the change?
  • What are the options depending on the scope of the change?
  • What are the approval processes?
  • What is the impact of the change (impact analysis)?
  • What needs to change exactly?
  • When is the change going to take place?
  • Are other processes leveraged from this one? (authoring, etc.)

With all of these processes discussed and documented, we are now well on our way to have a very good environment for business rules. The next post will have a quick look at the security and audit concerns.

References

Agile Business Rules Development, ABRD v1.2, available at http://www.eclipse.org/epf/downloads/praclib/praclib_downloads.php

Deploy Business Rules Applications Successfully, Webinar, May 28 2008, Pierre Berlandier, available at: http://blogs.ilog.com/events/2008/05/28/deploy-business-rule-applications-successfully/

Series Navigation<< Business Rules Governance and management – Part VI – Rule Life CycleBusiness Rules Governance and Management – Part VIII – Access Control >>

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