The small feedback I received indicates that people did not realize there are word docs and sometimes projects attached to these posts...

 

For instance, here is the content from the Shortest Interview Guidelines.  Comments are especially desired to improve Shortest Interview Guideline 7.

 

I would post the content from the quality guidelines, but it is really too long...

 

Intermediate Oracle Policy Automation – OPA Shortest Interview Guidelines

 

As an aid to quality, what I call the “OPA Shortest Interview Guidelines” help ensure that the shortest length of interview successfully obtains a primary determination.

 

Intent

  • Minimize the number of interview questions to get to a determination.
  • Minimize content that must be read to get to a determination.

Problem

You need to minimize the number of questions asked of a client. The result must be consistent across channels.

Interview questions have different levels of relevancy depending on the client.

Discussion

OPA should handle the complexity of determining question relevancy, and this is a first condition toward developing the shortest interview.

OPA's definition of relevancy is as follows:

1. Rule 1: An attribute's value is relevant if changing it could cause the conclusion of the rule to change.

2. Rule 2: Where a set of values are not relevant individually (through Rule 1) but are equally responsible for the value of the conclusion, then all values in the set are considered relevant.

3. Rule 3: All values that could be relevant if unknown values became known, are considered relevant.

 

Although elimination of irrelevant interview questions is critical to brevity, relevancy is not always true or false. For example, the use of limits in conjunction with greater than or less than comparisons can cause OPA to consider that an irrelevant attribute is relevant.


Some questions are often answered the same by all populations. If 95% of all interviewees are in-state, then asking for state residence up front may be less expeditious than asking about income.


Another technique for abbreviation is to combine questions to shorten an interview. Instead of asking three questions, an interview might combine them: "Are you over the age of 65, disabled, or blind?".


Shortest interview requires that the Oracle’s Rule principles be followed:

1. Each conclusion must be stated only once.

2. Each rule must have a comprehensive statement of conditions.

3. Each component of the rule must be clearly identifiable.

4. Each condition must itself be logically complete to determine the value of the condition.

5. Every rule must be knowable.

6. The order in which information is presented should not change the outcome of the rules.

 

Because questions can have different impacts based on the user, the following guidelines have emerged as an aid to arrange base attributes and questions for the shortest interview.

General Guideline

OPA interviews should follow Oracle’s whitepaper "Oracle Policy Automation Best Practice Guide for Policy Modelers", which provides guidelines on interview clarity which shortens the time to get to a primary determination.


The next guidelines augment the general guideline. They are specific to achieving the shortest average interview to get to a primary determination. These next guidelines may not be appropriate for other goals.


Shortest Interview Guideline 1

There should be a single top-level interview goal for the primary determination. No other goals should be defined in the interview. Having more than one top-level goal may cause OPA relevancy to ask additional questions that are not relevant to a primary determination.

Negative Example:

Suppose "the guideline 1 first goal is met" provides the primary determination…

In the above example, "the guideline 1 third condition is met" is an additional input asked that is not relevant to the primary determination. It will be asked and lengthen the interview… In this simple case the interview has been lengthened by 50%.

  

Shortest Interview Guideline 2

Until the primary determination is made, all attributes collected in the interview should be conditions relevant to the single top-level interview goal or should provide many default values to conditions for the single top-level goal.

- An interview asking questions that do not determine the primary goal will probably not create the shortest interview.

Negative Example:

Suppose "the guideline 2 goal is met" provides the primary determination…

If the collection screen is as follows, then Name and Address are not required. Interviewees may not want to give this information until they know whether they are "eligible" based on some determination.

 

Shortest Interview Guideline 3

Attributes where base data is not going to be kept or otherwise queried should be combined.

Turning 2 or 3 questions into 1 shorter question usually shortens an interview.

Example:

In the example rule above, notice the conclusion can be inferred by asking only one question instead of three questions.

 

Shortest Interview Guideline 4

Screens, booleans, and containers should show if "control collects relevant information".

This allows OPA to determine relevancy. We try to keep visibility rules (extra rule writing) to a minimum. If OPA can determine what to ask on its own, it saves both work and shortens interviews. [Note, as of November 2017, If two attributes can be linked by a shortcut rule, then they should generally not be collected on the same screen.]

Example:

For each question, set "Show if…"

Then, the questions will only show when needed, shortening the interview as such… In this case, answering yes to the first question removes the need for the second question.

Shortest Interview Guideline 5

Create any possible shortcut rules.

By definition, these shorten interviews. See "Capture implicit logic in rules" in the OPA help.

Example:

Note: Shortcut rules can be replaced with "DefaultWithUnknown()" rules in the latest versions of OPA. The primary reason for using a shortcut rule would appear to be to maintain natural language syntax. The verdict is still out whether shortcut rules, interview default values, or default functions are better; due to the warning on DefaultWithUnknown(): This function should be used with caution, since additional data can cause decisions to change. Default functions may provide more default consistency across channels and earlier determinations.

Shortest Interview Guideline 6

Every question should default to the most likely value or provide hint text.

- A question already answered provides for a shorter interview.

No example required.

Note: When creating defaults, several options are available in OPA (with trade-offs.) The verdict is still out regarding whether shortcut rules, interview default values, or default functions are better; due to the warning on DefaultWithUnknown(): This function should be used with caution, since additional data can cause decisions to change. Default functions may provide more default consistency across channels and earlier determinations. Note, a dynamic default can be updated live by evaluating a rule that uses data on the same screen.

 

Shortest Interview Guideline 7

The base attributes most responsible for the value of the top-level interview goal should be collected first.

The sooner the top-level goal is known, the fewer questions need to be asked, so the shorter the interview. This includes asking questions that help default future answers. It is sometimes necessary to ask a question whose sole purpose is to provide defaults for many other base attributes.

 

Questions most responsible for the value of the top-level goal can generally be identified as follows:

1.) The base attribute is the "fewest" levels deep.

2.) Other base attribute default values or their visibility depends upon the question

3.) If the base attribute conjunction is "OR", the answer distribution is expected to be most commonly answered in the positive.

4.) If the base attribute conjunction is "AND", the answer distribution is expected to be most commonly answered in the negative.

5.) The question is mandatory (cannot be left unknown or uncertain).

6.) The question is a boolean.

 

Shortest Interview Guideline 8

Screens / questions of interest to the business but not the determination should be put after the questions for the primary determination.

As a rule, the business may have further information to collect depending on the determination made. For shortest interviews, this information is best put in screens after the determination. Contact information such as phone numbers and mailing addresses are examples that are asked last to shorten an interview. These attributes are generally free-form text.

 

Example:

Register new users and collect their billing / mailing addresses after they have been vetted by OPA.

 

Exception:

There is an obvious exception to this guideline. Collecting entity identifiers and sex to aid in asking unambiguous questions may shorten an interview per advice from the General Guideline.

 

Shortest Interview Guideline 9

Projects should pay additional attention to the time spent per screen and interview duration charts available on the OPA hub after the August 2017 release of OPA. Use this data periodically to revise attribute collection.

 

A reasonable approach may be to monitor actual interviews, analyse results and keep trying changes that might lower the averages (perhaps within a time/cost limit). This process could be accelerated by using past data as tests against new interview tweaks. However, that approach won't guarantee an improvement unless the next set of data happens to be identical to the analysed set of data. In short, the best that can be reasonably achieved is to test certain assumptions and measure actual experience. As Matt Sevin, from Oracle says: “Past performance does not guarantee future performance, nor do the assumptions that seem to improve one interview necessarily imply similar results in another policy model.”

 

Example:

 

 

Shortest Interview Guideline 10

Maximize use of "hide" for all controls.

 

The less text that a user must read, the shorter the interview.

 

Negative examples:

Check that all parent controls do not have these settings:

Shortest Interview Guideline 11

Restrict answers (avoid non-granular answers). Rearrange attributes so that earlier attributes can restrict later attributes.

 

Reduce the granularity and abundance of answers and specifically avoid free-form answers. In general, have shorter interviews by asking fewer questions and minimizing the quantity of possible answers. While this may appear obvious, many business users forget that while interesting, detail is not always necessary. This is a primary reason why booleans are preferred. In many cases, numeric attributes can be converted to boolean by gaining knowledge from prior attributes.

 

Examples:

Assume a determination is dependent upon whether a client lives in NY. Instead of asking for State of residence and then checking if the State is NY, ask only whether the client resides in NY (true/false).

Assume financial aid is available for students who make less than 20,000 a year if the student is over the age of 25. Don't ask the student's specific salary ranges or specific age, ask if the student is over 25 (true/false), then ask if the student makes less than 20,000 a year (true/false).

 

Shortest Interview Guideline 12

Provide dynamic default number of entity instances.

 

Use initial attributes to dynamically determine the number of required entity instances. Entity instances require more time and thought by the end user. Avoid having the end user specifically think about creation / deletion of entities.

 

Shortest Interview Checklist

Use the following checklist for guideline compliance. Scoring is utilized as a quality assessment to measure maturity of an OPA implementation for shortest interview.

Scoring is as follow:

0 = Not in use

1 = Partially available and/or partially used by the project

2 = Available and in-use by the project

Quality Check

Analysis

OPA interviews follow the whitepaper "Oracle Policy Automation Best Practice Guide for Policy Modelers" provided by Oracle.

0 / 1 / 2

There is a single top-level interview goal for the primary determination. No other goals are defined in the interview.

0 / 1 / 2

Until the primary determination is made, all attributes collected in the interview are conditions relevant to the single top-level interview goal or provide many default values to conditions for the single top-level goal.

0 / 1 / 2

Attributes where base data is not going to be kept or otherwise queried are combined.

0 / 1 / 2

Screens, booleans, and containers should show if "control collects relevant information".

0 / 1 / 2

Any possible shortcut rules have been created.

0 / 1 / 2

Every question defaults to the most likely value or provides hint text.

0 / 1 / 2

The base attributes most responsible for the value of the top-level interview goals are collected first.

0 / 1 / 2

Screens / questions of interest to the business but not the determination are put after the questions for the primary determination.

0 / 1 / 2

Projects pay additional attention to the time spent per screen and interview duration charts available on the OPA hub after the August 2017 release of OPA. This data is used periodically to revise attribute collection.

0 / 1 / 2

Use is maximized for "hide" for all controls.

0 / 1 / 2

Answers are restricted to small sets and rearranged so that earlier attributes can restrict later attributes.

0 / 1 / 2

The default number of entity instances is provided dynamically.

0 / 1 / 2