High level process modeling for SCM systems
SCM processes require a close control of the product evolution, a global view of the involved activities, and user friendly interfaces. In other words a good support of SCM processes requires services currently found in different domains; Software Process technology of course, but also CSCW, WorkFlow or Software design.
Currently, most SCM systems have fixed processes either hard wired or through a specific tool which implements these processes. The other SCM systems define processes through State Transition Diagrams, exceptionally through a straightforward control flow; the formalisms used for describing these processes being script like languages.
This rather rudimentary technology contrasts with the demanding processes involved in SCM. We advocate in this paper, that SCM systems need a high level, wide scope and executable process formalism, intuitive enough to be understood by managers as well as by developers.
The paper focuses on how processes, and more specificaly concurrent engineering ones, can be described and supported based on a high level modeling tool called APEL (Abstract Process Engine Language). Based on its underlying formalism and concepts, we show that concurrent engineering policies can be addressed along four orthogonal dimensions controlling respectively the topology, isolation, public area and concurrent changes. Any actual cooperative policy is a point in this four dimensional space.
KeywordsCooperative Work Public Area Computer Support Cooperative Work Concurrent Change State Transition Diagram
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