The design utopia in which consultancy firms and Dutch government agencies have been participating in for decades has been suprising me for a while now. What especially surprises me, is that the promise of a young discipline, Business Rules Management or BRM often is equal to huge reports, huge architectures, a lot more design and in the end a governmental IT organization which has a new paradigm, and maybe a new tool without the commitment of the business. We as consultancy firms earn loads of money at times without provable improvement of the business of organizations, only less trees in the world. What I missed in this story thus far, is the commitment to and from the business. And that`s where things often go wrong. The promise of BRM was putting the business ‘in control’ of her business logic. In that way the business would be able to make better decisions in processes, savoring crucial business knowledge for the organization and building systems that could be changed by the business itself. In short, we`ve got to win the hearts and minds of the business!
There is a world to be won here. The business is not waiting for a new report and beautiful stories of how the world could be, as the penguin said in the movie Madagascar, don`t give me excuses, give me results! In other words, fix my (business) problems, and fix them now!
In the past the business explained it`s wishes to a programmer who would build a program, which sort of did the trick. Hey, talking to programmers was tough back in the day! After that, we had functional designers, technical designers who talked the language of the business (sort of), who in turn talked to the programmer. Nowadays, it`s total chaos with architects, designers, analysts, programmers, UI specialists and loads of other consultancy roles. They all like to design the world of the client using the latest ‘hot’ methods and techniques. But the business is not waiting for business services, SOA, WOA, ESB, and more of those beautiful concepts. No, shop is open, and it needs to change, 24/7! The business needs to do some of the changing to IT stuff themselves, the stuff they really need.
And who knows better which stuff they need in everyday business, it`s the business themselves. It would be best if we just helped them along a little, a nudge in the right way. And especially the business knows how to implement those business changes. And that`s where we are supposed to kick in, call it Agile Collaborative Business Technology if you will (to keep it simple).
My advice:

  • Organize BRM projects in a capacity building way (looking over the shoulder, collaborating, do it yourself) in this way when we`re gone the business can and will survive;
  • Start BRM projects small but practical (Prototype/POC from the get go), with a real to solve business issue;
  • Design parallel and mostly supportive of the ‘real life’BRM projects , business changes faster than you can design! and
  • Introduce with the start of BRM project a new role in the business organization, one of the business engineer, and give him ownership of applicable business logic.