London Calling

It has been a while since I given an update on the work of the WfMC Technical Committee. The last couple of months has been busy, and this is all building toward two standards tutorial events: one in DC and one in London. Before we get to that, it has been a busy couple of months:

XPDL 2.1 – A new update to this specification due to the hard work of a number of people contributing and painstakingly edited and assembled by Robert Shapiro. The WfMC working group 1 met in Nashville and voted for adoption of the 2.1 spec as it is. The new version contains extensions to support BPMN 1.1 (also just released) and include a new section on conformance testing. This is an important step because it allows us to specify several levels of conformance, and a way to measure which level you are at. Bruce Silver contributed significantly to this approach. Tom Laverty from Global 360 developed an XSLT script for performing the test. All in all, it is another step forward in the WfMC effort to allow for a process design ecosystem.

BPAF – A new acronym is born. The Workflow Reference Model describes interface 5 which is a way for events and other historical information to be passed to an analytical tool for processing and mining. At the Nashville meeting a decision was made to call this “Business Process Analytics Format”. This is a standard XML structure which a BPMS can generate, and Process Intelligence product can consume in order to product high quality analytics. Of course many such tools can be programmers to take a stream of event in any format, but a standardized format will allow us to fine tune the precise semantic meaning of each attribute of the event, and make it far easier to hook various types of process engines together without programming. There is a working group led by Michael zur Muehlen and Shane Gabie.

Wf-XML – Main focus on creating a new RESTful version of this specification in cooperation with Open Geospatial Consortium. Find out more about this at GeoBlicki.

Events – there have been a number of successful BPM tutorial events:

  • Las Vegas, Feb 2008, BPM In Practice at Gartner BPM Summit drew a full room of 60+ people for this three hour tutorial by Keith Swenson and Robert Shapiro
  • Nashville, Feb 2008, BPM In Practice at the BPM Tech Show was a repeat success with the three hour tutorial. This one was recorded and is being turned into a book!

Future Events – please mark your calendars, the following:

The Right Amount of BPMN

After a few months without much BPM discussion, then I blinked and found that I have been missing the Great BPMN Debate. To bring you up to speed: Michael zur Muehlen and Jan Recker have been studying how people actually use BPMN to draw business processes, and have counted the occurrance of rate of various elements. He summarized this in a blog post,which came to the conclusion that practitioners could focus on learning and using a small subset of a dozen BPMN elements, that vendors could prioritize implementations to get the more common elements first, and that some elements were used so rarely that the value of their existence was questioned. Continue reading

The Right to Royalty-Free Memories

Will you be forced to pay royalties in order to watch your child’s performance on your TV at home? That videotape of your child’s band concert might be illegal, due to overzealous enforcement of copyright laws by the music industry. Motivated by greed, the music industry has simply gone too far.

Consider the case of Mike. He has two kids playing in the high school band: Tom and Nicole. Mike is a typical band booster: he volunteers on the music association board, he helps load and unload all the equipment at events, sometimes he even drives the truck. Continue reading