International Project Management Day




Business Rules Management Guideline


Quick Summary
Screenshot Business rules are an important part of the requirements package, but they’re challenging to write, manage, and maintain without a rules repository. This guideline is designed to help you develop your own approach, by providing some basic guidance on business rules and tips for rules organization, management, and change control.


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What this is

Business rules are an important part of the requirements package, but they’re challenging to write, manage, and maintain without a rules repository. This guideline is designed to help you develop your own approach, by providing some basic guidance on business rules and tips for rules organization, management, and change control. Effectively stating, organizing, and managing business rules will help ensure that they can be appropriately applied to the end solution.

A business rule is a requirement that specifies the constraints or structure in which a system, process or a portion of the business must behave. From a business operations perspective, it may be perceived as a policy that guides or limits certain behaviors (e.g. Hourly employees must clock in before starting work). From a system perspective, a business rule helps constrain the way the system behaves (e.g. Only system administrators may access the XYZ system log). Business rules should be able to stand alone as a statement—independent of any other requirement. They should also be at the most granular level possible and contain no ambiguous or irrelevant information.


Why it's useful

This guideline offers some suggestions on how to manage business rules throughout your project, though the precise organization of your business rules will likely be governed by your own project and environment. The instructions and recommendations in the guideline will help you take a careful, planned approach to business rules.

Capturing and storing all of your business rules in a single place, you will ensure you can share them with your business stakeholders and project team members when appropriate, update them when they’re affected by a requirements or priority change, notify team members of updates, and track their progress through the project’s lifecycle to ensure each business rule is accounted for in the eventual project deliverables.


How to use it

  1. Decide how you will record and track the business rules you discover. In a large organization, you may have an automated business rules repository available. If you do, use the guidelines and tips in this document to decide on your process; the sample tables may serve as a model for your table structures if you have that level of control. If you don’t have an automated repository you will be able to design a recording system using the sample tables in this document. You will probably want to use a system similar to the one you use for tracking other types of requirements, since business rule are a special requirement type.
  2. Plan your approach. Review the guidelines that follow and draft your process and repository for discovering, documenting, reviewing, storing, and updating business rules. It’s important to plan your approach before you begin, because planning tracking and revision needs later in the process may remind you of information that you should capture early in the process. Use the tables in this guideline to model your tracking system, and alter them to fit your requirements.
  3. Research and record your rules. Discovering business rules is much like eliciting any other requirement, so you may find the advice in our Requirements Workshop Planning and Requirements Interview guidelines useful. Document, assess, and record the business rules you discover. Follow the system you have established to prioritize the rules you find and communicate them to the development team.
  4. Track your rules and keep them updated throughout the project. Maintain and update the business rules as project priorities change and as rule changes and exceptions are discovered. Following your procedures will ensure that changes are communicated to the development team in a timely manner.


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