There might be three distinct kinds of process support necessary:
1) System Centric Processes
2) Human Centric Processes
3) Knowledge Worker Processes
System centric processes are fairly well defined: it is a kind of software engineering for very complex distributed systems. These are designed to completely automate the information flow so that no person has to be involved.
Human Centric Processes are those well defined processes which involve people. Since people are not “invoked” the way that software services are, there are a lot of extra capabilities that are needed in order to interface successfully with the asynchronous nature of personal interactions.
Are Knowledge Worker Processes distinct type of process, or just an extreme case? The unique thing about knowledge work is that it is unpredictable. Human Centric Processes can still be formal processes that are all predefined. Knowledge work, by it very nature, can not be predicted in advance. There is no fixed process for this kind of work. The work is “impromptu” in that the sequence of steps is figured out at the time that the work is done.
Some have called the technology to support knowledge workers “Case Management“. Especially in the medical field where you have experts who examine the “case” (the collection of documents and reports compiled for a given case) and then decide what to do next. (See CSMA.) Case management is also the name used in the legal field. See particularly work at National Center for State Courts which is promoting an idea of Configurable Case Management. Some also call this area Dynamic BPM. Some call it “Unstructured BPM”. A better term might be Situational Process Management.
Where exactly is the boundary, if any, between Human Process and Knowledge Worker Process? Clearly KWP need extra support at run time to allow processes to proceed in ways that were not predicted in advance.
Thought Leader Summit Workshop
WfMC will be holding a Thought Leader Summit on this subject on Nov 3 in Maidenhead England. Please find additional information at:
The purpose of the workshop is to clarify the requirements of “the kind of process support which is needed in order to support knowledge workers”. What is and is not included in this kind of a product / technology? This is the essence of this discussion hosted by WfMC. Henk de Man from Cordys will be there. Dana Khoyi from Global 360 will be there. John Hoogland from Pallas Athena will be there. Max Pucher from Isis Papyrus will be there. Many other thought leaders including Justin Brunt, Nathaniel Palmer, Keith Swenson (myself), Robert Shapiro, are expected to attend in order to get to the bottom of this highly relevant issue.
Goals: Determine the best name; create a short and long definition of the capabilities; get agreement on a list of requirements that such technology must have to be considered in the category; draw up a “Reference Model” or “Notional Architecture” for the category; follow through with a site for market education. It is a tall order. To those coming: be prepared to roll up your sleeves.
The summit will continue on Nov 4 with a workshop on BPMN 2.0 portability. Will BPMN diagrams be exchangeable between tools? Will BPMN 1.2 diagram be portable to BPMN 2.0? Answers to these questions will be worked on as a continuation of the fine work of the BPMN 2.0 / XPDL 2.2 working group. This group has already completed a proposed BPMN2.0 serialization schema, prototype transform from XPDL2.1 to proposed BPMN2.0 serialization, and prototype transform from BPMN2.0 serialization to XPDL2.1. This workshop will continue with discussions of BPMN 1.2 Status and use today, how fast people are migrating to 2.0, diagram interchange conformance classes, tools for validation, BPMN 2.0 Finalization Task Force Status, concerns over the direction, and other working group activities.