When the Wind is From the North

Software applications are based on business rules. Business rules are logical statements of processes.

That about covers it, right?

Some time ago, I had an intriguing conversation with a peer. A client was asking for a software customization. The customization was a result of exceptions to a business process. They were asking to alter the application for the exception. By making the exception, they would no longer be able to track (query and report) on all of a particular type of business transactions.

My response was, "if they do this, they will not be able to query and report all of these transactions (and lose the value of the application). The world as we know it will stop". So how do you solve this? You refine the business processes so that all of the transactions go through the same funnel. The key to a great software application is to identify the exceptions to the rule and then adapt the business processes which then drives the application development.  The key is true due diligence.  If the exceptions are never identified until after the software has gone live, the project ultimately will fail.  Building software to custom specifications will never live up to the perceived value.  Processes change and evolve. Software must be flexible to encompass change at any level. 

That critical conversation with the client should push the client to the truth and then continue on to a healthy discussion on process management.

"Yes, I understand your process flow but are there any exceptions to this? You NEVER violate this business rule? Does your supervisor bend this rule? Even when the Wind is from the North and you are three hours late?...." 

Editors Note:  This article was originally published on 9/12/2007.

About Sprawlgeek.
A Seasoned Technology Visionary possessing a deep understanding of technology and business processes.

Doug has accumulated over 35 years of experience in the technology and media markets. His broad career has ranged from leading Research and Development work for a 300+ million dollar company to an E-Government startup. His efforts have been recognized by major trade associations as well as Tier 1 clients.

Doug is now a private consultant and continues to provide his insights to the industry.