Pockets of Flexibility in Workflow Specification

  • Shazia Sadiq
  • Wasim Sadiq
  • Maria Orlowska
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2224)


Workflow technology is currently being deployed in quite diverse domains. However, the element of change is present in some degree and form in almost all domains. A workflow implementation that does not support the process of change will not benefit the organization in the long run. Change can be manifested in different forms in workflow processes. In this paper, we first present a categorization of workflow change characteristics and divide workflow processes into dynamic, adaptive and flexible processes. We define flexibility as the ability of the workflow process to execute on the basis of a loosely, or partially specified model, where the full specification of the model is made at runtime, and may be unique to each instance. To provide a modeling framework that offers true flexibility, we need to consider the factors, which influence the paths of (unique) instances together with the process definition. We advocate an approach that aims at making the process of change part of the workflow process itself. We introduce the notion of an open instance that consists of a core process and several pockets of flexibility, and present a framework based on this notion, which makes use of special build activities that provide the functionality to integrate the process of defining a change, into the open workflow instance.


Customer Relationship Management Core Process Computer Support Cooperative Work Multiple Execution Open Instance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    W. M. P. van der Aalst, A. P. Barros, A. H. M. ter Hofstede, and B. Kiepuszewski. Advanced Workflow Patterns. O. Etzion and P. Scheuremann, editors, Proceedings Seventh IFCIS International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems, CoopIS 2000, Volume 1901 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 18–29, Eilat, Israel. Springer-Verlag. September (2000).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    W. M. P. van der Aalst and S. Jablonski. Dealing with Workflow Change: Identification of issues and solutions International Journal of Computer Systems, Science, and Engineering, 15(5):267–276, (2000).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    S. Ellis, K. Keddara, G. Rozenberg. Dynamic Changes within Workflow Systems. Proceedings of ACM Conference on Organizational Computing Systems COOCS 95 (1995).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    J Eder, W. Liebhart. The workflow activity model WAMO. Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIs), Vienna, Austria, May (1995).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fabio Casati, S. Ceri, B. Pernici, G. Pozzi. Workflow Evolution. In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Conceptual Modeling, ER.96, Cottbus, Germany. Springer Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (1996).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fabio Casati, Giuseppe Pozzi. Modeling Exception Behaviors in Commercial Workflow Management Systems. Proceedings of the Fourth IFCIS International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS99). Edinburgh, Scotland. Sep 2–4, (1999).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gregor Joeris, Otthein Herzog. Managing Evolving Workflow Specifications. Proceedings of the third IFCIS International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS 98). NewYork, USA. Aug (1998).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mark Klein, Chrysanthos Dellarocas, Abraham Bernstein (eds.) Workshop on Adaptive Workflow Systems. Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Seattle, USA. November (1998).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Markus Kradolfer, Andreas Geppert. Dynamic Workflow Schema Evolution based on Workflow Type Versioning and Workflow Migration. Proccedings of the Fourth IFCIS International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS99). Edinburgh, Scotland. Sep 2–4, (1999).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chengfei Liu, Maria Orlowska, Hui Li. Automating Handover in Dynamic Workflow Environments. Proceedings of 10th International Conference on Advances in Information System Engineering (CAiSE 98), Pisa, Italy, June (1998).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mohan C. Tutorial: State of the Art in Workflow Management System Research and Products, 5th International Conference on Extending Database Technology, Avignon, France, March (1996).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Manfred Reichert, Peter Dadam. ADEPTflex — Supporting Dynamic Changes of Workflow without loosing control. Journal of Intelligent Information Systems (JIIS), Special Issue on Workflow and Process Management (1998).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Shazia Sadiq. Handling Dynamic Schema Change in Process Models. Australian Database Conference, Canberra, Australia. Jan 27–Feb 02, (2000).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shazia Sadiq. On Capturing Exceptions in Workflow Process Models. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Business Information Systems. Poznan, Poland. April 12–13 (2000).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Amit Sheth. From Contemporary Workflow Process Automation to Adaptive and Dynamic Work Activity Coordination and Collaboration. Siggroup Bulletin, 18(3):17–20, (1997).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Keith D. Swensen, Kent Irwin. Workflow Technology: Tradeoffs for Business Process Re-engineering. Proceedings of ACM Conference on Organizational Computing Systems (COOCS 95), Milpitas, CA. USA, Nov (1995).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Diane M. Strong, Steven M. Miller. Exceptions and Exception Handling in Computerized Information Processes, ACM Transactions on Information Systems, Vol. 13, No 2, Pages 206–233, April (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Shazia Sadiq, Olivera Marjanovic, Maria E. Orlowska. Managing Change and Time in Dynamic Workflow Processes. International Journal of Cooperative Information Systems. Vol. 9, Nos. 1 & 2. March–June (2000).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wasim Sadiq, Maria E. Orlowska. On Correctness Issues in Conceptual Modeling of Workflows. In Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS.97), Cork, Ireland, June 19–21, (1997).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wasim Sadiq, Maria E. Orlowska. Analyzing Process Models using Graph Reduction Techniques. Information Systems, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 117–134, 2000. Elsevier Science. June (2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Workflow Management Coalition. Interface 1: Process Definition Interchange, Process Model, Document Number WfMC TC-1016-p. (1998).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shazia Sadiq
    • 1
  • Wasim Sadiq
    • 1
  • Maria Orlowska
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer Science and Electrical EngineeringDistributed Systems Technology Center The University of QueenslandAustralia

Personalised recommendations