Business Rules Basics

Business rules reflect policies, procedures, or constraints that affect how a project or organization conducts its business. They are implemented wherever a decision point or tailoring opportunity exists. 

The business rules that apply to S1000D publications are layered. Each layer inherits and extends the previous layer’s rules. They essentially make a number of the possible decisions in advance. The goal is to have all (or virtually all) the decisions made by the time that actual writing begins, so that everyone is writing to the same rules.

S1000D was purposely written to accommodate many different organizations, business processes, and types of products. Between the S1000D general layer and the individual project layer, there may be successive layers of organizational and industry rules you should be aware of before proceeding with a particular project.

In addition, each project will need to do some tailoring to make sure that the project’s particular needs will be met. These additional project-specific business rules should be included in the contract documentation to make sure all parties are in agreement about them. Project and contractor staff will then work together to choose the business rules for those decisions. (The authors, of course, need to make sure that their writing complies with all those rules.)

S1000D Decision Points

S1000D specifies how things are to be done in many areas. However, S1000D also includes a number of spots that remind projects (or organizations) of decisions that should be made. A decision needs to be made for every single one of these items.

S1000D business rules can be categorized to make them easier to understand. Many decisions will actually involve combinations of these categories, and it is important that the trainees learn to be alert to the possible interdependencies and interactions. For example, data exchange and data management business rules may affect each other.



General - Overall decisions about S1000D implementation

The project shall decide which information sets are used and the definition of their content.

Product definition - How product is structured, like the SNS rules

The project shall determine the use of the material item category code (to indicate different types of SNS applicable to an individual project).

Maintenance philosophy and concepts of operation - Content selection – breadth, depth, type

The project shall decide on the needed and available values of the maintenance levels.

Security issues - Any type of data restrictions

The project shall determine the use of the protective marking “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO)” for non-COMSEC publications.

Business processes - Coordination with Logistics Support Analysis, QA, training/SCORM, etc.

The project shall specify dates for data deliverables.

Data creation - Writing and markup rules, as well as illustration/ multimedia rules

The project shall decide on the maximum step levels allowed.

Data exchange - Includes use of the DDN, DMRL, and CSL

The project shall define which packaging file formats may be used to deliver change packages between vendor and customer.

Data integrity and management - Workflow and QA

For other than final delivery, the project shall decide on whether unverified data modules can be delivered to the customer.

Data output - Page-based and/or IETP

The project shall determine if multimedia is suitable for the environment in which the project will operate.

Project-Specific Business Rules

The last layer of rules is the project-specific business rules. These rules need to address all the remaining decision points. The project determines all business rules covering requirements that are specific to the individual project or organization.

These project-specific business rules are not limited to authoring or illustrating; they can address any of the decision areas noted earlier, from interfaces to functionalities to publication. Anywhere options are available, a business rule is needed to ensure consistency. Note that the project business rules must not contradict or alter anything mandatory in the S1000D schemas, S1000D’s basic philosophies, or any intermittent organizational layers—all the layers build on the business rules that already exist.


For additional details on how project information decisions are made and applied, consider registering for one of our training courses.