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Decision Model and Notation (DMN) – how to start a project #2

SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

In our last blog we gave you some basic advice to help you to decide whether decision management notation (DMN) is right for you. Now if you have come to the conclusion to use the DMN standard, how would you typically start such a project and what do you need to consider?

The first step is to gain some know-how. Take an in-depth look at decision management. DMN is a notation, built from years of practice. It is a new standard and it’s developing. If you understand what it does, then you’ll know better how to use it and how to improve it based on your own practical experience.

Any modelling approach, requires a certain rigour, otherwise you will waste time and not use it long term. Pick a vendor or consultant with a demonstrated track record of implementing process and decision management platforms and who has a solid implementation project methodology. It is important to understand the distinction between business logic and decisions. Once that concept is clear, using a DMN tool that not only allows you to model but to deploy the model as an operational service across your entire organisation will allow you to make huge progress.

The analysts and modelers who create the decision models must follow an in-depth training programme to learn the principles of decision modelling and to become experts in the tools chosen. The developers of decision modelling tools must focus on the relationships and elements within the decision models and learn as much of the DMN specification as necessary to ensure the desired level of conformance with the specification and its proper implementation in their tools.

In general, start small, keep it simple, demonstrate success in a project of a small scope that potentially has a real impact on the business, and keep iterating in an expanding manner. You should understand what level of maturity you wish to reach and frequently measure your progress.

As with any project, you need to analyse the business requirements. Use a simple top-down decomposition of your business rules, involving a few days’ participation from your process owners and subject-matter experts, led by a business analyst. This investment will result in decision diagrams showing the structure of the decision-making domain and identifying all the information required for it: the data that must be collected by the process and the organisational business knowledge – business rules, analytic models and calculations – that must be applied to the data to make the necessary decisions.

Decision Model by Object Modelling Group (OMG)

Soon it will be common practice for you to specify your complete decision model in DMN, working top-down, and then deploying it directly to the execution architecture as a decision service to be consumed by your business process management platform. I hope we have given you some insights into DMN. Feel free to ask any questions or add any comments below. We are happy to discuss this with you or become your partner in finding the right way to profit from this useful new standard.

Marc Bühler

Marketing Manager edorasware

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