Decision Management and DMN in 2016

Scott Francis
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At bpmNEXT, DMN was everywhere.  DMN is the Decision Modeling Notation backed by OMG and others.  Keith Swenson wrote a blog post on May 10th with the subheading “This is the year for DMN” – and it seems so:

The Decision Modeling Notation standard was released mid 2015. There are several implementations, but none of them quite mature yet.  If you are not familiar with DMN, here is what you need to know:

  • You can think of it simplistically as a tree of decision tables. There is so much more to it than that, but probably 80% of usage will a tree of decision tables
  • It has a specific expression language that allows the writing of conditions and results
  • Actually it is a tree of block expressions. A block expression can be a decision table, a simple if/then/else statement, or a number of other types of expression.
  • The results of blocks lower in the tree can be used in blocks further up.

In a panel discussion at BPMCAMP we’ll debate DMN’s best use in supporting process-centric and decision-centric scenarios, based on what we’re seeing in the field.

DMN fits into BP3’s worldview:  that complex ideas can be well-understood with simpler models and constructs. Models have a power to make the complex understandable, and to give us leverage to comprehend systems that are otherwise too complex. 

As a notation and tool, DMN stands to be improved – but even as is, it makes for a nice complement to the ways in which we attack business processes with BPMN.  Incorporating DMN into scalable and successful decision management methodology is just the kind of challenge that BP3 and our team are suited for.