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Comment on DMN 1.2: Haters Gonna Hate by nickbroom

Blog: BPMS Watch - Bruce Silver

Good article, Bruce – my issue has always been the use of the term ‘business-friendly’. Ironically it as a term is too simple. As a result it’s thrown around too conveniently.

I was very doubtful about FEEL when I first came across it and I’m not afraid to admit that. But again, it was the nature of the term ‘business-friendly’ that caused me the most concern. I’ve always said “could I reasonably expect an HR or Communications person to understand x” – that’s not me trying to be disrespectful to anyone’s ability, but these are business roles with skill sets often campaigning regularly to abandon too much jargon in the workplace!

The turning point for me was your article relating FEEL to the use of formulae in Excel and at that point the definition of the term narrowed and the obvious power of the language revealed.

I understand the concerns of Jacob in articulating the accessibility of the standard and suspect it might have been interpreted differently had it not been coming from the voice of a tool vendor. But then it becomes about how the standard is pitched. My main experience has shown that sales people will pitch modelling as ‘anyone can do it’ – which is true but to differing degrees as you’ve also pointed out. But senior management swallow that line and then the skill in applying decision modelling techniques is devalued.

When talking about BPMN to people used to traditional flowcharting I’ve often tried to say that it makes the process clearer, but not necessarily simpler, because processes are complex. As your numerous examples in the two books illustrate and as practical experience bears out, decisions are hugely complex as well. In light of Jacob’s post I revisited some of my own context entries to try and see whether I had disappeared too far down the FEEL rabbit hole and tried to reconstruct some purely as decision tables and I failed miserably. The simplicity of some of those FEEL statements in allowing you to do something so powerful is undeniable.

I still say that it will be a challenge to adoption, but only if it continues to be pitched at the wrong audience, or at least some distinction is not made in the type of pitch.

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