REVIEW - Business Rules and Information Systems - Aligning IT with Business Goals


Business Rules and Information Systems

Aligning IT with Business Goals


Tony Morgan



Addison-Wesley Professional (2002)




Lawrence Dack


June 2004



A Business Rule is a compact piece of logic of logic capturing a small snippet of the way an organisation goes about its business: the rules by which a bank approves loans; or a stock market speculator picks stocks. The basic premise of this book is that a business rule-centred approach to information system development will dramatically improve both the development process and the final product.

The ultimate vision presented in this book is of a software development process that removes the need for software developers; instead a business owner would be able to create a structured, rule-based definition of the required information system, and automatic generators would produce the finished article.

That said, the bulk of the book concentrates on more attainable objectives. After a couple of introductory chapters, in which this vision is outlined and set in the context of the Zachman architectural framework, the book focuses exclusively on business rules. It moves progressively from rule discovery, capture, and description (in UML); through to the evaluation of rules and the reconciliation of contradictory rules and finally on to the clustering, management, and approaches to the implementation of rule sets. All of this is described in a lucid and engaging manner, well illustrated with a long-running example, and accompanied by pragmatic suggestions of how the ideas described might be implemented.

I found this book to be well written throughout and thought provoking in parts. However, it seems to assume, almost without discussion, that the reader shares the author's belief that information systems can be specified in sufficient richness using business rules alone. If, like me, you lack that assurance, then this book will probably not deserve a place on your favourite bookshelf, although it remains a good introduction to a school of thought that will certainly be of value in some parts of the development process.Tools

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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