New e-book – analysing business rules

I have been talking to some business analysts recently about business rules. Oddly, many people seem to really struggle with how to define them for a project, but nobody seemed to know where to go for help.

If you want to know how to write good business rules then a great site to start on is http://www.rulespeak.com/.

But you can also read my new e-book on the same topic. I published it partly because I think a lot of BA’s are struggling in this area and partly because I wanted to see if it was hard to publish an ebook.

If you want to have a look in Kobo books then here is a link http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/analyzing-business-rules

It is also available in Nook and would be available in the iBook store except that my cover page was not good enough – I will need to design a better one.

(note added a week later …)  I realise I might not be updating the ebook for a couple of weeks from now, since I am in the middle of creating other material.  So I thought I would add the PDF version here too …Analyzing business rules PDF version

Business rules are great

For the Uninitiated, business rules are really just requirements but they are not “what a user wants” they are “a restriction on our options for requirements”. They either define things (rules such as “Account holders are always humans” or they restrict possible actions such as “customers must always say please” or “we must not sell alcohol to people under the age of 18).

My book explains what a business rule is and how it relates to different types of requirement, then explains how to write them. The content on writing them does not really improve on the content in the rulespeak site so you might find their work more useful in this area.

I also cover how to analyse business rules. The book has dry humour and is written with Australian spelling so I will leave you to decide if it is helpful or not. But I do think all BA’s should either read my book … or learn what business rules are. They are great fun.

The experience

Writing the “book” was not hard – I just needed time to sit quietly long enough to write 20 pages. I wrote the book in Word and then tried to load it into an ebook site.

I looked at Zoomstra which looked pretty good a while ago but I checked them recently and the looked like a startup that was doing a pivot and then never delivering anything again. I didn’t investigate it properly

I also looked at LeanPub (https://leanpub.com/). This site looks great and it lets you load books that are half finished to get feedback as you write.  But they require you to do HTML and raw updating stuff that looks painful, so I skipped them for now.

I looked at Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/) also looked great. They let you publish from a word document and then they publish your work to Kobo, Kindle and others.  You can charge for your book or have it there for free and you can even charge while giving out free coupons, which would be ideal for me if I get serious. For example I can run a course and give the book to the participants for free but still leave it in the bookstore to sell if anyone buys it. But they have specific formatting instructions to get your word document ready to publish so I looked a little further.

I finally settled on Draft2digital (https://draft2digital.com/). They let you publish from a word document without any real effort to format the document for them.  They do NOT have coupons but they do publish to kindle and Kobo. I was able to publish my book in 15 minutes, get an update from the Kobo bookstore that it was published an hour or two later and get rejected by the Apple bookstore within a week. This makes it really easy to publish.

Unfortunately my formatting is appalling and I will need to redo the book to get it right for e-book formats (Apple might have been right to reject my first upload). But I can also download the book as a PDF to distribute to students so the process itself is easy – it is just the author who needs more expertise.

I have since been told that I should consider “Scrivener” (http://www.smashwords.com/) or “Calibre” (http://calibre-ebook.com/) if I want to publish better material and that “Madcap” (http://www.madcapsoftware.com/) might be another option for distribution. I guess I will be doing some more experimentation soon. Unfortunately I have some content I need to create for training and consulting gigs (including day two of my course on “the Dark Art of Office Politics”, upgrading my Business model canvas course and others). So I probably won’t improve this e-book or publish any useful learnings from the e-book publishing process for a couple of months.

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