Workflow patterns – so much more left undone

I have been following the progress of Dr. Wil van der Aalst in his efforts to create a patterns language for workflow processes, as you know if you’ve read my posts.  First, the workflow patterns were described, then a comprehensive comparison of different workflow systems with respect to the patterns, and most recently, the YAWL…

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The infancy of workflow diagramming standards

I did something foolish recently… I criticized someone for an analysis diagram that, I felt, didn’t use “standard” workflow notations. Granted, the diagram looked very different from the kinds of diagrams that have been coming out of workflow tools, and it definitely wasn’t compliant with UML Activity diagrams, but that still didn’t give me the…

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Document Management as a foundational technology for Workflow

I like the term “foundational technology”.  It sounds so much cooler than it is.  I have no idea if there is one and only one definition for it.  My definition, in this post, is this: A foundational technology is a technology that provides infrastructure for another technology. In this context, we would say that a…

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YAWL — must see TV for Workflow practitioners

YAWL – Yet Another Workflow Language I suppose the name would be funny, if the idea for the name wasn’t so ingrained in Unix culture, with such landmark tools as YACC (Yet Another Compiler-Compiler – a BNF language tool available in some of the earliest releases of Unix from Bell Labs).  Aside from the cute…

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Is workflow best represented by something other than a graph?

A few days ago, I blogged about the three layers of abstraction for workflow items.  Now, I’m going to think aloud about a theoretical problem… is workflow best represented by a single graph?  Is the analysis of the problem leading to another problem? Most workflow processes are described using one of two types of visual paradigms:…

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Messages vs. Documents in a Workflow System

Using workflow systems can be interesting.  Everyone has a good idea of how to solve the “workflow problem,” and it usually involves systems with various different basic features… however most are similar in that the problem doesn’t allow for a lot of variety in how it is solved. In fact, a rather nice reference (if…

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Three levels of abstraction in Business Process Management

I’ve been thinking about the levels of abstraction that Martin Fowler defines in software development: a conceptual view, a specification view and an implementation view. These levels of abstraction reach far above “workflow” into the realm of Business Process Modeling.  Only the lowest layer of abstraction can reasonably be described as workflow. Business Unit View: at…

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