Distributed and Parallel Databases

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 5–51 | Cite as

Workflow Patterns

  • W.M.P. van der Aalst
  • A.H.M. ter Hofstede
  • B. Kiepuszewski
  • A.P. Barros


Differences in features supported by the various contemporary commercial workflow management systems point to different insights of suitability and different levels of expressive power. The challenge, which we undertake in this paper, is to systematically address workflow requirements, from basic to complex. Many of the more complex requirements identified, recur quite frequently in the analysis phases of workflow projects, however their implementation is uncertain in current products. Requirements for workflow languages are indicated through workflow patterns. In this context, patterns address business requirements in an imperative workflow style expression, but are removed from specific workflow languages. The paper describes a number of workflow patterns addressing what we believe identify comprehensive workflow functionality. These patterns provide the basis for an in-depth comparison of a number of commercially availablework flow management systems. As such, this paper can be seen as the academic response to evaluations made by prestigious consulting companies. Typically, these evaluations hardly consider the workflow modeling language and routing capabilities, and focus more on the purely technical and commercial aspects.

workflow pattern control flow suitability expressive power 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • W.M.P. van der Aalst
    • 1
  • A.H.M. ter Hofstede
    • 2
  • B. Kiepuszewski
    • 2
  • A.P. Barros
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Technology ManagementEindhoven University of TechnologyMB EindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Centre for Information Technology InnovationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbane QldAustralia
  3. 3.Distributed Systems Technology CentreThe University of QueenslandBrisbane QldAustralia

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