Business Analysis Technique: Business Rules Analysis

According to the BABOK® Guide, business rules analysis is one of the 16 required techniques in the fundamental knowledge base of an effective business analyst. This technique allows you to identify any business policy or rule changes resulting from your allocated requirements and release schedule. Your organization’s business rules may be managed manually or by using a business rules engine that is part of a software tool.

Your organization’s business policies are directives that support business goals.  Business rules, by contrast, are actionable and testable directives that support the business policies. Complex business rules are often represented as a decision tree or table. Business rules are independent of their implementation within the organization. Although they constrain and support the processes found in your solution, they are not a part of that solution. In order to effectively perform business rules analysis, you will need a data dictionary and glossary for your project or organization.  

Business rules require a defined glossary of terms and an understanding of the relationships between them.  There are two types of business rules, operative and structural.  Operative business rules guide the actions of people working in the organization, and are enforced by the organization as a matter of policy.  Structural rules determine when something is or is not true, structuring and categorizing the knowledge and information found in the organization.

Well, that is our quick look at yet another technique used by business analysts, business rules analysis.  I have found this technique to be of great help on many projects, particularly for IT projects where  the business rules governing how certain things are done in the organization can make or break a successful project. Give a shout if you have another BABOK® technique you would like to explore in more detail!

Susan Weese

Business analysts are increasingly becoming the critical liaisons between business and solution development (oftentimes IT), so they must communicate and relate with equal effectiveness throughout all levels of an organization. Download this free White Paper to see which five common obstacles business analysts face and how to address them to ensure success.

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