5 Golden Rules of Rule Creation in Rule Engines


If you would like to know what is a BRE (Business Rule Engine) or a Rule Engine and how does it work, you may watch the video above. We will deep dive with this article and explain to you 5 golden rules of rule creation in rule engines no matter which rule engine you use. We have explained our examples on this article by using one of the best rule engines of market, IBM Operational Decision Manager (IBM ODM) for enabling rule creation with lay terminology. IBM ODM is not only easy to use but also reveals its true value while creating high quality rules.

“Me and my team have enabled tens of thousands rules in Insurance Companies and Banks up to today and at least one transaction you made have been evaluated through our rule engines we have developed.”

1- How easy to create rules?

Structures created by rule authors by selecting from job dictionary on Decision Center are called business rule or rule creation. Please note that first and most important condition of creating quality rule is simplicity of writing the rule.

Correctly designed ODM rule applications become a guide to rule authors and prepares rule selections for them. Therefore, only the related words appear to rule author instead of entire wordlist in the pool, possible confusion may be prevented by this way and management of process becomes easier.


Showing the right words for simplification and speed is important for process efficiency. ODM provides below features:

Sets and Value Adjustment: Enables rule authors to make selections on sets. For instance; when authors want to create rules about a city, list of all cities are displayed.

Categories: Categories create subsets for used job dictionaries and enables those subsets to be displayed on used rule elements. It provides to show options of rule-specific selected words to user instead of showing irrelevant words.

Other Types:

In order to ensure rule authors to create rules in a more readable format; ODM provides predefined units such as currency, percentile, weight etc. and process options on those units to user.

2. Is the rule understandable?

A good rule is understandable and does not need any explanation or additional notes. Rule should be understandable when users or business owners read it.Selection of right words is important for that. Rules should be created by avoiding local definitions, complex business logics and multiple cycles. Please note that; those concepts are hard to understand and use for non-IT users. That’s why; they should be simple and clear and created using daily language. Column explanations of decision tables should be clear. Besides, there should not be too much empty cell in table. Dividing such table logically into more table makes it more understandable.


3. Is rule analysis made?

Larger the projects harder to track created rules. Impact analysis, rule integrity, repetitive rules, gap rules and rules overwriting each other should be evaluated. Those analyses should be made before and after every rule creation. ODM provides some tools for these analyses.

4. Is the rule easy to find?

A project having confusing rules cannot be managed even if it works well and quality of such project remains under desired levels. In a rule project, business logics should be properly separated from each other. It is important to group rules having similar jobs by creating folders on ODM Decision Center Console. Names of these folders and rules should also be descriptive. User should access the rule he/she seeks independently if she/he knows what she/he should be looking for. These groups basically decrease complexity of the project and creates more manageable rule project in the end.

5. Is the rule managed ?

Rule Management; during the creation, change and deletion of rule content asking some questions would increase quality of the rule.

Those are:

  • Who can change the rule?
  • What is the version of the rule?
  • Who has changed the rule lately?
  • What are the dates in which the rule remains active?
  • Are there any change or new request Management?
  • Is defect management applied?

ODM carries out its Operations with Release Management Framework. Optionally, when this feature used, answer to above questions will be revealed automatically by rule project itself. Rule quality is an indispensable item for working together in crowded groups and increasing agility. Project may become more manageable by following above quality steps. 


Author: Selimhan Buğra Ertuğrul - Kıdemli Çözüm Mimarı