Decisions are the core object in DecisionsFirst Modeler. Decisions as modeled here are the act of choosing between multiple possible options, the act of determining the answer to a specific question. A decision modeled in DecisionsFirst modeler is generally made more than once, it is a repeatable decision such as deciding how to handle an insurance claim or what marketing offer to make a customer. We are modeling how we want to make all such decisions, not documenting a specific decision.

When a Decision is created or edited, the basic details of a decision are displayed at the top of the edit column

  • Name, a unique name for the decision
  • A rich text description of the decision
  • Type, either Strategic, Tactical or Operational. Most decisions in DeicsionsFirst Modeler are going to be Tactical or Operational, given the focus on repeatable decisions.
  • Status Level to show how complete the decision is based on the status levels defined for the account. Each account can have its own status levels defined.
  • URL, if any, to additional information about the decision stored outside DecisionsFirst Modeler

Decisions have dependencies shown through several additional properties and associations

  • Decisions can appear on several Decision Diagrams and the Primary Decision Diagram drop down identifies which is considered the “best” to get a context for this decision. This is designed to help someone looking at the decision for the first time find the most suitable diagram.
  • The Dependency Network shows all the Input Data, Knowledge Sources and Decisions on which this decision is dependent as well as all the Decisions and Knowledge Sources that are dependent on this Decision. This information is assembled from ALL the diagrams in the system and is read-only.
  • Decision Diagrams shows all the Decision Diagrams on which the decision appears. This is read only when viewing a decision – you can only add to this list by adding the Decision to a new Diagram using the Diagram editor.

Decisions are defined by their dependencies and by a Question and Allowed Answers

  • Question is an alternative name for the decision written in the form of a question
  • Answer Type defines what kind of answer the question allows and is one of Yes/No, Number in range, an explicit list of allowed values, a list retrieved from a database or Other.
  • Answer Values can be defined for some of the Answer Types. Minimum and Maximum can be entered for numeric answers while explicit values can be added to a list using the text field and the Add button and this list can be reordered using the arrows. This can also be used to make notes on Database or Other answers. A default value can be specified.
  • Supporting Information that the decision should return along with the answer, such as an explanation for the answer selected for instance, can also be specified.

Various characteristics of decisions can be specified:

  • Volume or how often the decision is made
  • Complexity of the decision making approach expected
  • Value Range or how much difference there is to the business between a good decision and a bad one
  • Repeatability of the decision, how consistently is it made
  • Measurability of the decision or how easy is it to tell that a good decision has been made
  • Time to outcome for the decision, how long it takes to tell if the decision was a good one.
  • All of these sliders can be adjusted and a comment added if that makes sense.
  • Decisionsare generally more valuable the quicker they can be made. The Decision Value Decay field allows you to describe how the value of this decision decays over time.

All decisions must be made in some kind of Application Context.

  • Decisions may be required by Processes if those processes are to complete
  • Events may trigger a decision, requiring it to be made so the event can be handled appropriately
  • Systems may be required to implement or have access to a decision
  • The Objectives or business metrics that are affected by a decision should be identified both so that good decisions can be differentiated from bad ones and so that the value of improving a decision is clear in business terms.

Finally decisions have an Organization Context.

  • Decisions are Owned by Organizations that define how the decision should be made. Often only one organization owns a decision but sometimes there is more than one.
  • Decisions are Made by Organizations or by roles. These are the people in the organization that must make the decision or, if it is completely automated, pass the results of the decision on to a customer.
  • Decisions Impact Organizations besides those that own or make the decision. As these organizations will care about the approach taken to the decision it should be recorded.

All objects allow Comments.