The Object Management Group (OMG) publishes and manages the Decision Model and Notation (DMN) standard. It provides a consistent method for articulating, modeling and executing repeated choices inside an organization or endeavor. It is also meant to make sharing and exchanging decision models easier for companies. The modeling notation consists of a visual language that allows judgments and business rules to be written in a form that both business and technical audiences can understand, ensuring that decisions and rules are understood. The resultant Decision Model also defines how to use the Friendly Enough Expression Language (FEEL) to analyze the logic of choices specified in Decision Tables. 

Why Use Decision Model and Notation DMN?

DMN is appropriate for usage in all industries and organizations, particularly when precise and legally compliant decision-making is required. DMN can help businesses where risk management and compliance are important. Financial, environmental, and labor regulations, among others, have risk implications that must be considered. Because these operational decisions can have a significant impact on operations, even minor details can have a substantial effect on a company’s implementation and risk profile. DMN provides an autonomous decision modeling notation; it is an open standard. 

 Just like BPMN, its ideas and formats are not the intellectual property of a covered vendor or consulting firm. Business rules are part of the source code of traditional information systems, and they can only be maintained by a team of programmers. You may delegate rule generation and maintenance to persons with little or no technical skills by using a rule notation like DMN and a rule engine. The Decision Model and Notation are excellent alternatives for defining and implementing business rules while keeping them fluid and adaptable.

All of this makes DMN an easy method to manage today’s complicated business environment, particularly for service businesses like:

  • Finance
  • Logistics
  • Government
  • Law
  • Health

OMG Decision Model and Notation

Decision modeling is a technique for describing and managing complex decision-making processes using graphical notations and business rules. One of the standards for decision modeling is the Decision Model and Notation (DMN), published by the Object Management Group (OMG) – a multinational consortium of technology standards. DMN aims to provide a common language and notation for decision models, a metamodel, and an interchange format for tool interoperability. DMN also seeks to enhance communication and collaboration among stakeholders involved in decision management, such as business analysts, policymakers, and process owners.

The DMN metamodel defines the concepts and elements of decision modeling, such as decisions, inputs, outputs, logic, and requirements. The metamodel is specified using the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and can be consistently implemented by tool vendors. The metamodel also establishes the semantics and terminology for decision models, ensuring the decision logic’s clear and precise meaning.

The DMN notation visually represents decision models using diagrams and tables. The notation is designed to be business-friendly and independent of any specific computation platform. The notation can express complex decision logic in a structured and modular way, using different types of elements, such as decision nodes, input nodes, knowledge sources, and business knowledge models. The notation also includes a standard format for decision tables, which are widely used for defining rules and conditions. Additionally, the notation may support other forms of decision logic, such as decision trees, decision graphs, or natural language expressions. The notation also allows for linking decision models to different OMG standards, such as Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR), and Case Management Model and Notation (CMMN).

Examples of DMN

Assume you are a busy domestic airline reservation officer working at the check-in desk. Delays can result in airport controller costs, the requirement to fly at a lower altitude, increasing the cost of fuel, and other penalties if the aircraft does not take off on time.

The supervisor’s message arrives on your screen, stating that the economy cabin is overbooked and that you will need to upgrade some passengers to Business or First Class – but which people should be picked and which cabin should they be upgraded? A choice must be made, but what aspects should be taken into account? A Decision Requirements diagram can capture this in a Decision Model.

This is beneficial, but the busy check-in officer must still analyze all the criteria and make an unbiased conclusion. Should an unhappy customer be prioritized above a Gold-level frequent flyer, or should the fact that a specific passenger is connecting to an overseas aircraft be considered? These ‘rules’ may be documented in a Decision table, indicating which people should be upgraded and to which cabin: Business or First Class. This will make the decision much easier, and the rules can be established, agreed upon, and tested for consistency back at headquarters. In this case, we kept things simple by using two factors: the number of flights the customer had taken in the previous month and how overbooked the cabin was.

The table is broken down into columns and rows. Columns are classified into two types: those that are necessary to make the choice and those that are the consequence of applying the rules. Again, this is really useful, but it still requires the busy check-in officer to obtain all of the necessary information to discover the correct row in the Decision table. Even if all this information was accessible, a lousy judgment may still be made due to human error in picking the incorrect row in the database.

A business or technical user may go through the simulation while constructing the models, and the system will display that user which row in the Decision table was triggered to decide the outcome. This is very useful in models with many decisions.

The regulations that govern the upgrading choice frequently change. For example, the Marketing Department may reward passengers who fly on long-distance flights. The Decision Requirements diagram may be adjusted to reflect the new information, the Decision table can be changed, and the programming code can be regenerated. When the improvements are implemented in the airport systems, the appropriate passengers will be immediately upgraded. During a training and briefing session, the check-in officer might still study the Decision tables to grasp the regulations.

Benefits of DMN 

  • A specific firm does not control DMN but an institution (OMG) that has previously been formed via other global standards, such as BPMN and UML. The DMN standard is supported by various software solutions, reducing your reliance on a single vendor’s products.
  • Decisions in DMN may be represented and performed using the same language. Business analysts can model the rules that lead to a decision in simple tables, which can then be performed directly by a decision engine (such as Camunda). This reduces the possibility of miscommunication between business analysts and developers and even enables fast adjustments in production.
  • DMN is a new standard, but professionals created it with decades of expertise in business rule management. Even though the standard does not require unique implementation patterns, it allows for more current and lightweight implementations than traditional business rule engines.
  • It improves transparency, and all internal stakeholders get knowledge about business processes and may correctly track compliance since the Decision Model and Notation is a transparent decision model. Everyone can read and comprehend the Decision Model using a visual, easy-to-understand depiction.
  • Interactions in real-time: Because formerly human judgments are now automated inside a process, business rules may be changed dynamically in real time. Decision Models and Notation are crucial drivers of a company’s digitization.


DMN is one of three critical business process modeling languages. The OMG collaboration created a new decision modeling standard, the Decision Model and Notation (DMN), in response to the requirement for comprehensive decision modeling. DMN is divided into two tiers. The decision requirement level displays decision needs and the connections between decision parts. Second, the decision logic level offers methods for specifying the underlying logic. DMN allows for the separation of process and decision logic, resulting in reduced complexity, flexibility, and maintainability of process models. Many studies have been done on the complexity of conceptual modeling approaches like UML, CMMN, and BPMN.

 However, the DMN’s intricacy has yet to be addressed in scholarly literature. In this work, we will evaluate the complexity of DMN and compare the results to prior studies for other modeling notations, such as BPMN and CMMN, highlighting the larger picture of consistent integration of processes, cases, and choices. Using BPMN, CMMN, and DMN in tandem allows for a more comprehensive approach to business process management, as it allows for the depiction of both procedural and declarative processes and a distinct yet integrated representation of the underlying business logic.

Wrapping up

Companies may now describe years of knowledge in business process management and decision optimization in a modern visual and tabular language using Decision Models and Notation. DMN Processes and choices may be seen individually using the easy connection to BPMN. Regarding look and interchange format, the Object Management Group’s version 1.3 is based on BPMN. Three critical areas comprise Decision Model and Notation:

Use decision tables and other tabular expressions to define the rules that create output depending on the relevant inputs. Decision Model and Notation is the solution for strategic choices, displaying essential performance indicators, streamlining operational processes, and expediting recurring evaluations. The simple answer is that you require both. Any area can be optimized only by combining procedures and choices in a meaningful way.


Leave a Reply