New Challenge “Recreational Fee”

We’ve just published a simple challenge offered by Ron Ross. A city has created a decision table to determine appropriate usage fees for its recreational facilities based on length of usage and when the usage occurs. The city also has the following behavioral business rule: A senior citizen must not be charged a recreational fee for use of facilities. Send us your models of this problem and we will ask Ron to compare different solutions. Link

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3 Responses to New Challenge “Recreational Fee”

  1. jamet123 says:

    Ron sets up a false question and uses a terribly incomplete set of decision logic to make his “point”. There’s no choice here, he just needs to complete the decision logic. See my response:

  2. drbobmoore says:

    I have to agree entirely James. The point here is the challenge is asking for a solution to a problem which has a fundamentally inconsistent specification. Without correcting the specification, we can’t really provide a correct solution. We just end up with a ‘guess’ at what the client really wants – which is exactly the sort of thing the decision and the rules communities are trying to stamp out.

    By coincidence, I’d actually read Ron’s article the day before I saw the challenge. It seemed to me at the time that he was using a weak example to explore a subtle point – and I got the feeling even he wasn’t too happy about it as a way to illustrate his arguments. The point it explores is interesting – what we should do when we have conflicts between SBVR ‘Behavioural Business Rules’ which can, by definition, be broken and SBVR ‘Definitional Business Rules’ which cannot – but the problem with this example is it is just too black and white to start with. It leaves no room for compromise. An example based on business aspirations vs physical limitations (my own idea would be to look at business travel times) would make more sense.

    At the end of the day though, before any (fully automated) solution can be built the system specification must include ‘rules’ to fully resolve any conflicts between ‘Behavioural’ and ‘Definitional’ rules – something which the challenge does not do as it stands.

  3. Nick Broom says:

    Whilst the points above are fair in terms of the details provided by Ron, in my view this is like any real world scenario. Even when things are given as fully spec’d the chances of them remaining that way when users start to see an implementation of it are close to zero. And I challenge anyone to name a project where a signed off spec didn’t result in at least one question back to the provider.

    To that end I’m making a whole raft of assumptions; I’d always do this in order to deliver something quickly and start getting feedback as early as possible to then allow further iterations. I’ve uploaded my solution to YouTube:

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