decision tables

Monday, 03 February 2014 13:25

Decision tables are used:

  • when the output data or program behavior depends on the combinations of input data values;
  • by checking the “business rules”.

Decision tables are usually divided into four parts.

  • Conditions – a list of possible conditions.
  • Variants of the conditions’ performance – a combination of performance and / or failure of the conditions of this list.

  • Actions – a list of possible actions.

  • The need for actions – an indication whether the appropriate action should be performed for each combination of the conditions.

The actions can be simple, but can refer to other decision tables.

By actions execution, a priority can be set (for example: if it is possible to implement several actions by a certain combination of conditions performing, we should specify the priority of these actions in the decision table).

The table’s structure:

  1. Conditions – incoming data.
  2. Actions – outgoing data.
  3. Terms of Service – test cases.

The steps of table constructing

  1. To identify / write all the conditions.
  2. To calculate the number of possible conditions combinations.
  3. To fill in the combinations.
  4. To remove excess combinations.
  5. To record actions.


Input: a, b, c.
Output: determine the type of the triangle (equilateral, isosceles, versatile, not a triangle).
The step 1 (to determine the conditions):
Condition 1: a, b, c form a triangle? {Y, N};
Condition 2: a = b? {Y, N};
Condition 3: a = c? {Y, N};
Condition 4: b = c? {Y, N}.

Step 2 (to calculate combinations):

If all conditions are simple ({Y, N}):
The quantity of combinations = 2 * quantity of the conditions;
If the conditions are difficult ({A, B, C, D}):
The number of combinations = VC1 * VC2 * VC3 * VCn
N = 24 = 16

Step 3: (fill in combination)

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