When I was in elementary school, one of my classmates worked assiduously to find ways to get around the rules. Regardless of the situation, my friend was obsessed with doing things his own way while still operating within the boundaries of the classroom rules of conduct. Of course, sometimes he could not figure out the right "hook" and would get himself into hot water. I am sure you have met people like this. Whether figuring out how to laze around at the workplace without getting caught, driving in the breakdown lane during a traffic jam or acting as a corporate tax attorney looking for ways to exploit loopholes, there is some inherent drive to get around the rules.

It would not be unreasonable to state that most organizations are driven by a set of business policies designed to effect achievement of specific business objectives. These policies may be stated explicitly in some form of business directives, run books or memos; or, they may be implicitly understood by all staff members. In government situations, policies may be stated in regulations, legislation or perhaps even interpretive judicial documents. As information professionals, we recognize the value of explicitly stated business policies because these policies typically encompass the business rules that influence both information architecture and system design. In fact, business rule engineers relish documented business policies because they are rich in the business terminology that feeds business rule automation; and those of you who regularly read my columns are well aware of my attachment to formal rule frameworks and their use for automating system implementation. I am a firm believer in the value of being able to document rules at a relatively high level while making the rules actionable and self-documenting.

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