Encyclopedia of Database Systems

Living Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu


  • Nathaniel PalmerEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-7993-3_822-2



A description of a piece of work that forms one logical step within a process. An activity may be a manual activity, which does not support computer automation, or a workflow (automated) activity. A workflow activity requires human and/or machine resources to support process execution; where human resource is required an activity is allocated to a workflow participant.

Key Points

A process definition generally consists of many process activities which are logically related in terms of their contribution to the overall realization of the business process.

An activity is typically the smallest unit of work which is scheduled by a workflow engine during process enactment (e.g., using transition and pre/post- conditions), although one activity may result in several work items being assigned (to a workflow participant).

Wholly manual activities may form part of a business process and be included within its associated process definition, but do not form part of the automated workflow resulting from the computer supported execution of the process.

An activity may therefore be categorized as “manual,” or “automated.” Within this document, which is written principally in the context of workflow management, the term is normally used to refer to an automated activity.


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Workflow Management CoalitionHinghamUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Barbara Pernici
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. di Elettronica e InformazionePolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly