The DEAT Business Rule Pattern Language

Russell R. Hurlbut, Ph.D.

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Rule Pattern 25: Contingency

Problem Describing Timed Window for Actions

A business process may prescribe that a certain action should be performed within a specified period of time. If that action fails to be performed within the stipulated period, for whatever reason, then a contingency action should be taken instead.


Contingency actions may be declared in association with a fixed period of time that defines the primary action window. This business rule pattern shares an affinity with the Scheduled Execution pattern. The primary difference is that the scheduled action is contingent upon failure of a primary action occurring. However, the parameters from Scheduled Execution are subsumed by this pattern.

Example Cash-Out Election

An employee benefits administration department processes cash outs for terminated employees that have an accrued value below a certain threshold. The terminated employee is allowed 90 days to make an election to roll over the cash value amount. If that election is declined or no election is made within the allowed period of time, then the cash balance amount will be sent after the mandatory government tax withholding has been deducted.
Cash-Out Election Parameters
Primary Action cash-out election
Contingent action cash-out


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