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Next steps for the Decision Model and Notation standard


I have been blogging and writing about the Decision Model and Notation standard on the blog for a while now (check out these posts on the goal of a standard from 2011 and these on the approach and the submission itself). Today was a big day because the key boards at the Object Management Group approved our submission, meaning that the Decision Model and Notation is now a beta standard (more or less, there are a couple of procedural votes to come). In the next few months we will enter what’s known as the finalization phase where the team addresses comments from those who are implementing the standard (which includes Decision Management Solutions with our DecisionsFirst Modeler product) before finalizing a v1 spec,probably in fall 2014.

I am really excited about the potential DMN:

  • It will establish decision modeling as a standard approach that should be part of how you specify requirements. Hopefully it will even show up in things like the Business Analyst Body of Knowledge before too long
  • It gives those of us whose experience with Business Rules Management Systems has led us to identify and model decisions first and business rules second a notation and model structure we can use for this that is independent of a particular BRMS.
  • This common notation will mean that business analysts, business people and even programmers will have a way to describe the decision making they are building that is transferable across BRMS implementations.
  • It will allow those with decision-centric domain experience to express that “best practice” decision making as a model that can be discussed, shared and reused across implementations without technical details getting in the way.
  • Our experience using it is that it is a powerful tool for expressing business understanding in the context of a data mining or predictive analytics project, fulfilling the need of the first step in CRISP-DM beautifully for example.
  • We even see Business Intelligence and Data Quality projects, among others, getting interested in building models of the decision making they are meant to be improving as a way to focus and prioritize their efforts.

DMN can be thought of as the third of three critical business-focused model and notation standards – Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), the new Case Management Model and Notation (CMMN) and Decision Model and Notation (DMN). BPMN has been a big driver for business process skills adoption and standardization and we are hopeful that DMN will do likewise.

If you are focused on business rules or analytics I really encourage you to take a look at the spec. For those of you who are OMG members you can get access to the submission here and all the files (including meta model and interchange files) here. For non members we hope to post some or all of the submission on various public pages (including this blog) in the coming few days. Meanwhile you can check out my white papers on Decision Modeling for Business Rules Projects and Decision Modeling for Predictive Analytics Projects  for some use cases for DMN. There’s also quite a lot on the topic in my book Decision Management Systems: A Practical Guide to Using Business Rules and Predictive Analytics and Alan Fish (another member of the team) has a great book on decision modeling too – Knowledge Automation: How to Implement Decision Management in Business Processes. You can also sign up for DecisionsFirst Modeler itself and we have some great starter services around decision modeling to get you up and running quickly.

DMN is coming…


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