Declarative workflows: Balancing between flexibility and support

  • W. M. P. van der Aalst
  • M. Pesic
  • H. Schonenberg
Open Access
Special Issue Paper

Abstract

Today’s process-aware information systems tend to either support business processes or provide flexibility. Classical workflow management systems offer good process support as long as the processes are structured and do not require much flexibility. Information systems that allow for flexibility have a tendency to lack process-related support. If systems offer guidance, then they are typically also inclined to ‘‘enforce guidelines’’ and are perceived as inflexible. Moreover, implementing flexible systems is far from trivial. This paper will show that using a more declarative approach can assist in a better balance between flexibility and support. This is demonstrated by presenting the Declare framework that aims to take care of the full spectrum of flexibility while at the same time supports the user using recommendations and other process-mining-based diagnostics.

Keywords

Workflow management Business Process Management Flexibility Process mining 

References

  1. 1.
    van der Aalst WMP (1998) The application of Petri nets to workflow management. J Circ Syst Comput 8(1):21–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    van der Aalst WMP (2001) Exterminating the dynamic change bug: a concrete approach to support workflow change. Inform Syst Front 3(3):297–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    van der Aalst WMP, Adams M, ter Hofstede AHM, Pesic M, Schonenberg H (2008) Flexibility as a service. BPM Center Report BPM-08-09, BPMcenter.orgGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    van der Aalst WMP, van Dongen BF, Günther CW, Mans RS, Alves de Medeiros AK, Rozinat A, Rubin V, Song M, Verbeek HMW, Weijters AJMM (2007) ProM 4.0: Comprehensive support for real process analysis. In: Kleijn J, Yakovlev A (eds) Application and theory of Petri nets and other models of concurrency (ICATPN 2007), vol 4546 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 484–494. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    van der Aalst WMP, Jablonski S (2000) Dealing with workflow change: identification of issues and solutions. Int J Comput Syst Sci Eng 15(5):267–276Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    van der Aalst WMP, Pesic M (2006) DecSerFlow: Towards a truly declarative service flow language. In: Bravetti M, Nunez M, Zavattaro G (eds) International Conference on Web Services and Formal Methods (WS-FM 2006), vol 4184 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 1–23, Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    van der Aalst WMP, Reijers HA, Weijters AJMM, van Dongen BF, Alves de Medeiros AK, Song M, Verbeek HMW (2007) Business process mining: an industrial application. Inform Syst 32(5):713–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    van der Aalst WMP, Weske M, Grünbauer D (2005) Case handling: a new paradigm for business process support. Data Know Eng 53(2):129–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Adams M (2007) Facilitating dynamic flexibility and exception handling for workflows. Phd thesis, Queensland University of Technology, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Adams M, ter Hofstede AHM, van der Aalst WMP, Edmond D (2007) Dynamic, extensible and context-aware exception handling for workflows. In: Curbera F, Leymann F, Weske M (eds) Proceedings of the OTM Conference on Cooperative information Systems (CoopIS 2007), vol 4803 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 95–112. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Adams M, ter Hofstede AHM, Edmond D, van der Aalst WMP (2006) Worklets: A service-oriented implementation of dynamic flexibility in workflows. In: Meersman R, Tari Z et al (eds) On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems 2006, OTM Confederated International Conferences, 14th International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS 2006), vol 4275 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 291–308. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Agostini A, De Michelis G (2000) Improving flexibility of workflow management systems. In: van der Aalst WMP, Desel J, Oberweis A (eds) Business process management: Models, techniques, and empirical studies, vol 1806 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 218–234. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Allen JF (1983) Maintaining knowledge about temporal intervals. Commun ACM 26(11):832–843MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Attie PC, Singh MP, Emerson EA, Sheth A, Rusinkiewicz M (1996) Scheduling workflows by enforcing intertask dependencies. Distrib Syst Eng J 3(4):222–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Attie PC, Singh MP, Sheth A, Rusinkiewicz M (1993) Specifying and enforcing intertask dependencies. In: 19th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB), pp 134–145, Dublin, Ireland, August 24–27, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., San Francisco, CA, USAGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Casati F, Ceri S, Pernici B, Pozzi G (1998) Workflow evolution. Data Knowl Eng 24(3):211–238MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Clarke EM, Grumberg O, Peled DA (1999) Model checking. The MIT Press, Cambridge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Decker G, Grosskopf A, Barros A (2007) A graphical notation for modeling complex events in business processes. In: Proceedings of the 11th IEEE International Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference (EDOC 2007), pp 27–36, IEEE Computer SocietyGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Declare (2008) http://declare.sf.net. Accessed March 1, 2009Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dourish P, Holmes J, MacLean A, Marqvardsen P, Zbyslaw A (1996) Freeflow: Mediating between representation and action in workflow systems. In: Proceedings of the CM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW ’96), pp 190–198. ACM Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Dumas M, van der Aalst WMP, ter Hofstede AHM (2005) Process-aware information systems: Bridging people and software through process technology. Wiley & Sons, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ellis CA, Keddara K, Rozenberg G (1995) Dynamic change within workflow systems. In: Comstock N, Ellis C, Kling R, Mylopoulos J, Kaplan S (eds) Proceedings of the Conference on Organizational Computing Systems, pp 10–21, Milpitas, California, ACM SIGOIS, ACM Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Georgakopoulos D, Hornick M, Sheth A (1995) An overview of workflow management: from process modeling to workflow automation infrastructure. Distrib Parall Datab 3:119–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Giannakopoulou D, Havelund K (2001) Automata-based verification of temporal properties on running programs. In: ASE ’01: Proceedings of the 16th IEEE international conference on Automated software engineering, p 412, Washington, DC, IEEE Computer SocietyGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Glance N, Pagani D, Pareschi R (1996) Generalised process structure grammars (GPSG) for flexible representations of work. In: Proceedings of the Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW’96), pp 190–198, ACM Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Heinl P, Horn S, Jablonski S, Neeb J, Stein K, Teschke M (1999) A comprehensive approach to flexibility in workflow management systems. In: Georgakopoulos G, Prinz W, Wolf AL (eds) Work Activities Coordination and Collaboration (WACC’99), pp 79–88, San Francisco, February, ACM pressGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Joeris G (2000) Decentralized and flexible workflow enactment based on task coordination agents. In: Wangler B, Bergman L (eds) Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering (CAiSE’00), vol 1789 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 41–62, Stockholm, Sweden, Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lamma E, Mello P, Montali M, Riguzzi F, Storari S (2007) Inducing declarative logic-based models from labeled traces. In: Alonso G, Dadam P, Rosemann M (eds) International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM 2007), vol 4714 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 344–359. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    de Leoni M, van der Aalst WMP, ter Hofstede AHM (2008) Visual support for work assignment in process-aware information systems. In: Dumas M, Reichert M, Shan MC (eds) International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM 2008), vol 5240 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 67–83. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lu R, Sadiq S, Padmanabhan V, Governatori G (2006) Using a temporal constraint network for business process execution. In: Proceedings of the 17th Australasian Database Conference (ADC ’06), pp 157–166, Darlinghurst, Australia, Australian Computer Society, IncGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ly LT, Rinderle S, Dadam P (2006) Semantic correctness in adaptive process management systems. In: Business process management, vol 4102 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 193–208. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Minor M, Schmalen D, Koldehoff A, Bergmann R (2007) Structural adaptation of workflows supported by a suspension mechanism and by case-based reasoning. In: Proceedings of WETICE 2007, pp 370–375Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Pesic M (2008) Constraint-based workflow management systems: Shifting control to users. Phd thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, EindhovenGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Pesic M, Schonenberg H, van der Aalst WMP (2007) DECLARE: Full support for loosely-structured processes. In: Spies M, Blake MB (eds) Proceedings of the Eleventh IEEE International Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference (EDOC 2007), pp 287–298. IEEE Computer SocietyGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Pesic M, Schonenberg MH, Sidorova N, van der Aalst WMP (2007) Constraint-based workflow models: Change made easy. In: Curbera F, Leymann F, Weske M (eds) Proceedings of the OTM Conference on Cooperative information Systems (CoopIS 2007), vol 4803 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 77–94. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Raposo AB, Fuks H (2002) Defining task interdependencies and coordination mechanisms for collaborative systems. In: Blay-Fornarino M, Pinna-Dery AM, Schmidt K, Zaratè P (eds) Cooperative systems design, vol 74 of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, pp 88–103, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, IOS PressGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Raposo AB, Magalhaes LP, Ricarte ILM, Fuks H (2001) Coordination of collaborative activities: A framework for the definition of tasks interdependencies. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Groupware (CRIWG), pp 170–179, IEEE Computer SocietyGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Reichert M, Dadam P (1998) ADEPTflex: supporting dynamic changes of workflow without loosing control. J Intell Inform Syst 10(2):93–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Rinderle S, Reichert M, Dadam P (2003) Evaluation of correctness criteria for dynamic workflow changes. In: van der Aalst WMP, ter Hofstede AHM, Weske M (eds) International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM 2003), vol 2678 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 41–57. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Rinderle S, Reichert M, Dadam P (2004) Correctness criteria for dynamic changes in workflow systems: a survey. Data Knowl Eng 50(1):9–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Rinderle S, Weber B, Reichert M, Wild W (2005) Integrating process learning and process evolution: A semantics based approach. In: van der Aalst WMP, ter Hofstede AHM, Weske M (eds) International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM 2005), vol 2678 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 252–267. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Sadiq S, Sadiq W, Orlowska M (2001) Pockets of flexibility in workflow specification. In: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Conceptual Modeling (ER 2001), vol 2224 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 513–526. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Schonenberg H, Mans R, Russell N, Mulyar N, van der Aalst WMP (2008) Process flexibility: A survey of contemporary approaches. In: Dietz J, Albani A, Barjis J (eds) Advances in enterprise engineering I, vol 10 of Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, pp 16–30. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Schonenberg H, Weber B, van Dongen BF, van der Aalst WMP (2008) Supporting flexible processes through recommendations based on history. In: Dumas M, Reichert M, Shan MC (eds) International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM 2008), vol 5240 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 51–66, Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Schonenberg MH, Mans RS, Russell NC, Mulyar NA, van der Aalst WMP (2007) Towards a taxonomy of process flexibility (extended version). BPM Center Report BPM-07-11, BPMcenter.orgGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Wainer J, de Lima Bezerra F (2003) Constraint-based flexible workflows. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Workshop on Groupware: Design, Implementation, and Use (CRIWG 2003), vol 2806, pp 151–158 Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Weber B, Reichert M, Rinderle-Ma S (2008) Change patterns and change support features: Enhancing flexibility in process-aware information systems. Data Knowl Eng 66(3):438–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Weske M (2001) Formal foundation and conceptual design of dynamic adaptations in a workflow management system. In: Sprague R (ed) Proceedings of the Thirty-Fourth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS-34). IEEE Computer Society Press, Los AlamitosGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. M. P. van der Aalst
    • 1
  • M. Pesic
    • 1
  • H. Schonenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Eindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations