Make your decision models more personal

on January 25, 2016

The Decision Model and Notation (DMN) provides a number of ways to supply specific content to a model, i.e. some kind of information that is not directly related to the modeling or the decision implementation, but which can be relevant in your context nonetheless:

  • All diagram elements (input data, decision, business knowledge model, knowledge source) can have a description
  • Decisions have additional information such as a question that may characterize them and allowed answers, objectives, performance indicators, decision makers, decision owners, BPMN processes and BPMN tasks
  • Knowledge sources also have additional information such as a location for the source of knowledge, and the type of that source of knowledge, as well as an owner

Pencil Decision Modeler adds more information to the mix, such as the volume of a decision (how frequently the decision is made), its frequency (how frequently it changes) and its latency (how much time is allowed to make and deploy changes). Finally, glossary categories and entries can also have a description.

While this is great, this may not be sufficient for your own needs: you may need more information to be provided either in the DMN diagram itself, or in decision logic.

For example, what if you need to link individual rules in your decision tables to actual policies or regulations? Or provide effective or expiration dates to those rules? Or, later on in the process, refer to executable rules that actually implement your decision logic?

The solution is to be able to provide additional information to decision tables (or rule sets), in the form of extra columns, that are not to be treated as decision logic, but that allow you to further document your business rules.

Of course, if your decision logic is represented as a rule set (which is something available Pencil Decision Modeler), such additional information is also available to each individual rule in the rule set.

When modeling your decisions, you define the kind of inputs that you require; and sometimes, some of these inputs are already available in existing applications, databases, caches, etc. in your organization. It may therefore be useful to indicate where a given input comes from, or which system requires a particular output, or who in the organization would be the contact person for a specific piece of data, and so on.

In Pencil Decision Modeler, these “physical” inputs and outputs are specified in the form of glossary entries, so naturally custom information is provided as additional columns in the glossary.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is the reason why the DMN diagram is so compelling. But sometimes you need particular elements in your diagram to stand out, to attract attention: for example, to indicate that some decision needs to be reviewed, or that the implementation of certain decisions is assigned to particular Business Analyst on your team.

Pencil Decision Modeler makes it possible for any element in the DMN diagram to adopt either its default color scheme, or a custom one that can have any meaning you desire.

Going with DMN is so much better to collaborate than alternatives like Word or Excel. But decision modeling should also enable you, the Business Analyst, to refine the model with as much information as required to make it easier to discuss the decisions. And this means being able to add your own, specific information, to the models.

The latest release of Pencil Decision Modeler takes another step to making your models more personal, so give it a try!

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Sparkling Logic Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based company dedicated to helping organizations automate and optimize key decisions in daily business operations and customer interactions in a low-code, no-code environment. Our core product, SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Manager, is an all-in-one decision management platform designed for business analysts to quickly automate and continuously optimize complex operational decisions. Learn more by requesting a live demo or free trial today.