Dealing with forward and backward jumps in workflow management systems
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Workflow management systems (WfMS) offer a promising technology for the realization of process-centered application systems. A deficiency of existing WfMS is their inadequate support for dealing with exceptional deviations from the standard procedure. In the ADEPT project, therefore, we have developed advanced concepts for workflow modeling and execution, which aim at the increase of flexibility in WfMS. On the one hand we allow workflow designers to model exceptional execution paths already at buildtime provided that these deviations are known in advance. On the other hand authorized users may dynamically deviate from the pre-modeled workflow at runtime as well in order to deal with unforeseen events. In this paper, we focus on forward and backward jumps needed in this context. We describe sophisticated modeling concepts for capturing deviations in workflow models already at buildtime, and we show how forward and backward jumps (of different semantics) can be correctly applied in an ad-hoc manner during runtime as well. We work out basic requirements, facilities, and limitations arising in this context. Our experiences with applications from different domains have shown that the developed concepts will form a key part of process flexibility in process-centered information systems.
Keywords:Workflow management Adaptive workflow Exception handling Forward/backward jump
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