Business Knowledge, Language, Models - Workshops and Literature
I stressed the importance of a business vocabulary for a long time. For example in the translation of the RuleSpeak® documents. A free primer "How to define Business Terms in Plain English" can be found on the Business Rule Solutions website. The definition of a business vocabulary is part of ConceptSpeak™, not RuleSpeak®.
A business vocabulary is the basis of various models: business rules, business processes (activities, events, roles, resources), business requirements, business decisions, other models. Many business analysis work techniques use a clear business vocabulary as a foundation
Because of the importance, this is part of every workshop, both regarding the notations (BPMN, CMMN, DMN). But also regarding the methodology and the use of tools. E.g. I show in our Visual Paradigm workshop which functions are available for vocabulary management.
In his new book "Business Knowledge Blueprints Enabling Your Data to Speak the Language of the Business" Ron Ross expands the question of the methodology of creating and using a business vocabulary beyond the primer (see link below).
The primer is a good introduction to the topic. The primer and the book talk about the use of English as a language. The proximity of English and German makes most statements also valid for the German language. Especially if we are disciplined when constructing the vocabulary and using the German language.
In this context, I particularly emphasize two principles:
- "3. Capturing the Essence of a Concept"
- "4. Ensuring the Internal Quality of Definitions".
Do we use everyday language to describe business rules, business processes, etc., it quickly happens that we incorporate inaccuracies (or mistakes) in our models.
For example, if we look at the business rules and business processes of a credit card issuer, the concept of "credit card" is essential. The Duden (German Universal Dictionary) defines "credit card" as follows "(a small credit card issued by a financing company to a creditworthy person) that looks like a small card that the cardholder can use to make cashless payments upon presentation." (© Duden - German Universal Dictionary, 7th ed. Mannheim 2011).
If we reflect this definition, for example, with the activity "Block credit card", the inaccuracy of the definition is striking. The credit card (the little piece of plastic) is in my pocket. And I warn everyone to try to touch this card.
The statement "Block credit card" is incorrect. An account is assigned to the credit card (at the credit card issuer). This account is blocked so that the credit card can no longer be used for cashless payments. It is not the credit card that is blocked, but the assigned reference account.
The definition in the Duden universal dictionary violates Principle 3 of the primer. Definitions should not include purpose, function or use.
I will post more on this topic. I am just getting started reading Ron's book.