Expressing business rules : a fact based approach : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Information Systems at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Numerous industry surveys have suggested that many IT projects still end in failure. Incomplete, ambiguous and inaccurate specifications are cited as a major causal factor. Traditional techniques for specifying data requirements often lack the expressiveness with which to model subtle but common features within organisations. As a consequence, categories of business rules that determine the structure and behaviour of organisations may not be captured until the latter stages of the systems development lifecycle. A fact-based technique called Object Role Modelling (ORM) has been investigated as an altemative approach for specifying data requirements. The technique's ability to capture and represent a wide range of data requirements rigorously, but still in a form comprehensible to business people, could provide a powerful tool for analysts. In this report, ORM constructs have been synthesised with the concepts and definitions provided by the Business Rules Group (BRG), who have produced a detailed taxonomy of business rule categories. In doing so, business rules discovered in an organisation can be expressed in a form that is meaningful to both analysts and business people. Exploiting the expressive simplicity of a conceptual modelling technique to articulate an organisation's business rules could help to fill a significant requirements gap.