UML Activity Diagrams as a Workflow Specification Language

  • Marlon Dumas
  • Arthur H. M. ter Hofstede
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2185)


If UML activity diagrams are to succeed as a standard in the area of organisational process modeling, they need to compare well to alternative languages such as those provided by commercial Workflow Management Systems. This paper examines the expressiveness and the adequacy of activity diagrams for workflow specification, by systematically evaluating their ability to capture a collection of workflow patterns. This analysis provides insights into the relative strengths and weaknesses of activity diagrams. In particular, it is shown that, given an appropriate clarification of their semantics, activity diagrams are able to capture situations arising in practice, which cannot be captured by most commercial Workflow Management Systems. On the other hand, the study shows that activity diagrams fail to capture some useful situations, thereby suggesting directions for improvement.


Activity Diagram Compound State Outgoing Transition Wait State Discriminator Pattern 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlon Dumas
    • 1
  • Arthur H. M. ter Hofstede
    • 1
  1. 1.Cooperative Information Systems Research CentreQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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