What is Decision Model and Notation (DMN)?

Do you know about BPMN notation?

It’s the most widely used and a standard for anyone working in BPM, but it’s not the only one.

Like everything in life, it’s important to be aware of the options available in the market and know when to use each one at the right time.

Do you want to know more about when to use DMN? Follow Us!

Also see: Process control systems: the best way to perform BPM

Understand DMN Decision Model  and Notation

Decision Model and Notation (DMN) is a notation for business rules in processes, built after years of practice and published by OMG – Object Management Group – an international consortium of technology standards.

DMN enables you to transform business rules into knowledge assets, where you need to separate process flows from business rules.


This happens when the sequence of activities that must be performed to deliver the result is different from the rules used in the process.

For example: in deciding whether a loan will be granted, the focus is more on decision making than on procedures and tasks.

DMN modeling notation is becoming more and more popular.

Many business processes are about approvals, not just for loans, but approval of expenses, travel itineraries, document authentication, etc.

And that requires decision management.

Business process modeling notation (BPMN) is useful for defining the steps of such processes, but does not explain the reason for approvals or rejections.

This is where DMN comes in.

It standardizes the composition of decision tree diagrams, automating the underlying logic, using decision tables, other analytical expressions, and easy-to-use tabular or graphical features.

In comparison, BPMN is used to model the process flow and DMN serves to model the set of business rules that govern this flow.

In the end, they end up interacting with each other in the process.

It’s very important to understand the difference between business logic and decisions.

Once this concept is clear, the use of a DMN tool that not only allows modeling but also deploys the model as an operational service throughout the organization will allow for great progress.

Process rhythm is achieved through BPMN and its implementation through BPMS. Naturally, the need for more complex decision making, assertiveness and traceability emerged. In this context, DMN notation needs to gain implementation through business rules automation systems: BRMS, Decision Services, BRaaS and others. Luiz Alvez – Nogord.io

Check out our blog: Decision-making in organizations: rational and intuitive

Why Use Decision Model and Notation DMN?

DMN is suitable for use in all sectors and by all types of organizations, especially where decision-making must be accurate and in compliance with legislation.

Companies where risk management and compliance have a relevant role can benefit from DMN.

Government regulations, including financial, environmental and labor regulations, have risk implications that must be taken seriously.

These operational decisions can have major impacts on operations, so simple details can have considerable effects on a company’s performance and risk profile.

DMN provides an independent decision modeling notation, it is an open standard.

Just like BPMN, its concepts and formats are not the intellectual property of a protected vendor or consulting firm.

In traditional information systems, business rules are part of the source code and their maintenance is only possible by a team of programmers.

Using a rule notation such as DMN and a rule engine, you can transfer creation and maintenance to people with little or no technical knowledge.

DMN Decision Model and Notation is arguably a great complementary option for modeling and executing business rules and keeping them fit for an agile and adaptive development approach.

All of this makes DMN a convenient way to navigate today’s complex business environment, especially for service industries such as:

  • Finance
  • Logistics
  • Government
  • Law
  • Health

See more: Risk management process: how I learned its importance in business

Decision Model and Notation DMN Elements

There are 4 basic elements of Decision Model and Notation DMN:

  • Decision
  • Business Knowledge Model
  • Input Data
  • Knowledge Source


It’s the center point of a DMN diagram and it symbolizes the action that determines as an output the result of a decision.

Business Knowledge Model

It portrays a specific knowledge within the business. It stores the origin of the information.

Example: a decision, rule or standard table. It’s in the business knowledge model that decision parameters are represented.

Input Data

This is information used as an input to the normal decision. It’s the variable that configures the result.

Example: Entering a customer’s tax number and the amount requested in a credit assessment decision.

Knowledge Source

It’s a source of knowledge that conveys a kind of legitimacy to the business. Example: policy, legislation, rules.

Did you already know about DMN notation? Do you already use it in your company? Or do you think you should start using it?

Give us your opinion or share your experience in the comments.

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