Archive for October, 2008

Workflow technology basic terms defined

October 28, 2008

WfMC has a great document titled:
Terminology & Glossary, Document Number WFMC-TC-1011, Feb 99 

The document linked above is:

 The full document can also be obtained here:


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Selected terms pasted here:


The automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents,

information or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according

to a set of procedural rules.


Workflow Management System

A system that defines, creates and manages the execution of workflows through the

use of software, running on one or more workflow engines, which is able to interpret

the process definition, interact with workflow participants and, where required, invoke

the use of IT tools and applications.


Workflow Process

A set of one or more linked procedures or activities which collectively realize a

business objective or policy goal, normally within the context of an organizational

structure defining functional roles and relationships



Process Definition

The representation of a business process in a form which supports automated

manipulation, such as modeling, or enactment by a workflow management system.

The process definition consists of a network of activities and their relationships,

criteria to indicate the start and termination of the process, and information about the

individual activities, such as participants, associated IT applications and data, etc.



A description of a piece of work that forms one logical step within a process. An

activity may be a manual activity, which does not support computer automation, or a

workflow (automated) activity. A workflow activity requires human and/or machine

resources(s) to support process execution; where human resource is required an

activity is allocated to a workflow participant.


Workflow Participant

A resource which performs the work represented by a workflow activity instance. This

work is normally manifested as one or more work items assigned to the workflow

participant via the worklist


Work Item

The representation of the work to be processed (by a workflow participant) in the

context of an activity within a process instance.


·          The work item(s) are normally presented to the user via a work list, which maintains details of the work items allocated to a user, and a worklist handler, which interacts with the worklist on the behalf of the user


·          The control and progression of work items rests with the worklist handler and the user, rather than the workflow engine, which is notified of workitem status (e.g. completion) via the worklist handler interface. (The WfMC WAPI interface includes standard API calls for this purpose.)




A list of work items associated with a given workflow participant (or in some cases

with a group of workflow participants who may share a common worklist). The

worklist forms part of the interface between a workflow engine and the worklist



Worklist Handler

A software component that manages the interaction between the user (or group of

users) and the worklist maintained by a workflow engine. It enables work items to be

passed from the workflow management system to users and notifications of completion

or other work status conditions to be passed between the user and the workflow

management system.



A point during the execution of a process instance where one activity completes and

the thread of control passes to another, which starts.


Transition Condition

A logical expression which may be evaluated by a workflow engine to decide the

sequence of activity execution within a process.



A logical expression which may be evaluated by a workflow engine to decide whether

a process instance or activity within a process instance may be started.



A logical expression which may be evaluated by a workflow engine to decide whether

a process instance or activity within a process instance is completed..


Workflow Application

A general term for a software program that interacts with a workflow enactment

service, handling part of the processing required to support a particular activity (or



Workflow Relevant Data

Data that is used by a Workflow Management System to determine the state transitions

of a workflow instance, for example within pre- and post-conditions, transition

conditions or workflow participant assignment.



Process State

A representation of the internal conditions defining the status of a process instance at a

particular point in time.



The WfMC Reference Model identifies a number of common states which a process instance may take:

·          Initiated – the process instance has been created, but may not yet be running

·          Running – the process instance has started execution and one or more of its activities may be started

·          Active – one or more activities are started and activity instances exist

·          Suspended – the process instance is quiescent; no further activities are started until it is resumed

·          Complete – the process instance has achieved its completion conditions and any post-completion system activities such as audit logging are in progress.

·          Terminated – the execution of the process has been stopped (abnormally) due to error or user request.


Dummy Activity

An Activity which has no inherent processing related to the business process, but

which is used to represent and evaluate complex routing or process control conditions

which may be too complicated to define efficiently using conventional process

definition notation.



An occurrence of a particular condition (which may be internal or external to the

workflow management system) which causes the workflow management software to

take one or more actions. For example the arrival of a particular type of email message

may cause the workflow system to start an instance of a specific process definition.

An event has two elements:

1. A Trigger, or cause, which is the recognition of some predefined set of

circumstances associated with the operation of the system, which causes a

particular action to be taken

2. The Action (or response) – which is the pre-defined system response following a

trigger condition


Audit Data

A historical record of the progress of a process instance from start to completion or




Organizational Role

A group of participants exhibiting a specific set of attributes, qualifications and/or




Organizational Model

A model which represents organizational entities and their relationships; it may also

incorporate a variety of attributes associated with the entities, such as skills or role.

Such a model may be realized in a directory or other form of database.



Process Role

A mechanism that associates participants to workflow activities.




A procedure (automated or manual) which is invoked if a particular constraint or

condition is not met.


Workflow Monitoring

The ability to track and report on workflow events during workflow execution.



Workflow Engine

A software service or “engine” that provides the run time execution environment for a

process instance.




A workflow system user who has special privileges allowing various system set-up,

control and management functions to be performed. In some systems these tasks may

be shared between several administrators, each taking responsibility for separate areas

of administration.

Example: Flexible choice

October 21, 2008

process can lead to none, one or both nodes. (can have complexity of M, not only 2 branches) (N out of M)


Workflow editor test drive: JaWE 1.4x

October 21, 2008

See example:

Workflow editor test drive: Microsoft Visio + XPDL plugin

October 21, 2008

See and example

WCP04 Exclusive Choice, WCP11 Implicit Termination, Hierarchical process

October 21, 2008

Example which shows two patterns


WCP09 Structured Discriminator

October 21, 2008

also called 1-out-of-M join


Focus of this site

October 21, 2008


link to previous posts (via blogger)