Business Rule Documentation

May 08, 2018

Business Rule Documentation (the Use Case Tool) is used to document and translate application business rules into application functions.

This is largely a communication tool that ensures that the business rule as stated by the business partner (project sponsor) is understood by the application development team and is subsequently translated into an application function.


  • To document application functional requirements before application development begins;
  • To ensure that business functionality process requirements are met;
  • To provide a standard format to represent a business function with enough information that the application development team has a clearly stated development task.


  • Provide a definition of the business requirement;
  • Provide a clear description of how the requirement will be met by the application;
  • Provide all application elements and functional navigation requirements;
  • Provide alternative flows;
  • Provide validations;
  • Provide data mappings between application and data source when required;
  • Upon documentation of application functionality, the use case should be reviewed by the project sponsor and the development team. This review process should continue until the business requirement is clearly stated and understood by all parties.

Here is a business rule documentation template.  

Take a look at how business rule documentation has been applied to vessel accounts transfer

Here is how business rule documentation has been applied to fisheries quota sharing

Example Where Used:

In the spring of 2010 staff at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) adapted a Business Rule Documentation template developed by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC). The SEFSC used their template to document business requirements to implement a Catch Share program in the Southeast and worked directly with NWFSC staff to adapt the template to meet the NWFSC needs.

Prior to the 2011 rollout of the West Coast Groundfish Catch Share program, the application development staff at the NWFSC worked directly with regulatory staff at the West Coast Region (WCR) to document over 100 functional specifications. These documents were reviewed by WCR regulators to ensure that the business rules that were programmed into the Catch Share website meet all regulatory requirements. As new regulations have been put in place, Business Rule Documentation continues to play a vital role in communicating business requirements to technical development staff.

In 2013 when the NWFSC was asked to redesign the WCR Limited Entry Permit database, Business Rule Documentation was a crucial element in ensuring that complex business requirements were communicated to development staff and are used to verify that requirements are fully implemented in the application.


Subject Ambassador:

Jeff Cowen - Northwest Fisheries Science Center:

Last updated by on June 13, 2018