The DEAT Business Rule Pattern Language

Russell R. Hurlbut, Ph.D.

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Rule Pattern 36: Explanation

Problem Describing Sequence of Operation or Rule Invocations

Many activities in a business process may be performed simultaneously or in an arbitrary order because they are non-interfering actions. However, for audit purposes, the exact sequence of activities performed should be recorded. Such auditing may be the result of legal requirements, contractual obligations, or internal quality control. Nonetheless, some explanation facility is needed to report this information.


The auditing of activity or invocation of business rule enforcement is accomplished through process reification. The integration of adaptive use cases and parameterized business rules produce an executable model that can record the sequence of activities based on any or all of the view model stereotypes defined in Chapter five. There are two dimensions to the explanation facility. The first dimension addresses the scope of activities. The macro view looks at an entire business process and breaks it down to the desired level of detail. Most of the explanation facilities needed to support the stereotyped customer view of an adaptive use case model are provided in workflow engine based systems. The micro view simply examines a targeted action sequence of interest. When these actions are entirely automated, the facility must be built into the executable module. The second dimension addresses the nature of the explanation. An extensional view describes the activity sequence. This view explains what was done. Again, most workflow system will support reports of this nature. An intensional view describes the application of business rules that controlled the initiation of activities. These facilities are typically not included in automated systems unless a blackboard, knowledge based, or some other type of dynamic reflection architecture is chosen for implementation.

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