Modeling Business Process Variability

Vervuurt, Mark (2007) Modeling Business Process Variability. Masters thesis, University of Twente.

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This master thesis presents research findings on business process variability modeling. Its main goal is to analyze inherent problems of business process variability and solve them simply, innovatively and effectively. To achieve this goal, process variability is defined by analyzing scientific literature, its main problems identified and is illustrated using a healthcare running example: process variability is classified into process variability within the domain space and over time. These two forms of process variability respectively lead to process variability modeling and process model evolution problems. After defining the main problems inherent to process variability, the focus of this research project is defined: solving process variability modeling problems.

First current business process modeling languages are evaluated to assess the effectiveness of their respective modeling concepts when modeling process variability, using a newly created set of evaluation criteria and the healthcare running example. The following business process modeling languages are evaluated: Event driven process chains (EPC), the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) and Configurable EPC (C-EPC).

Business process variability modeling and Software product line engineering have similar problems. Therefore the variability modeling concepts developed by software product line engineering are analyzed. Feature diagrams and software configuration management are the main variability management concepts provided by software product line engineering. To apply these variability management concepts to model process variability meant combining them with existing business modeling languages. Riebisch feature diagrams are combined with C-EPC to form Feature-EPC. Applying software configuration management, meant merging Change Oriented Versioning with basic EPC to create COV-EPC, and merging the Proteus Configuration Language with basic EPC to design PCL-EPC. Finally these newly created business process modeling languages are also evaluated using the newly designed evaluation criteria and the healthcare running example.

EPC or BPMN are not suited to model business process variability within the domain space. C-EPC provide explicit means to model business process variability, however the process models tend to get big very fast. Furthermore the syntax, the contextual constraints and the semantics of the configuration requirements and guidelines used to configure the C-EPC process models are unclear. Feature-EPC improve C-EPC with domain modeling capability and clearly defined configuration rules: their syntax, contextual constraints and semantics have been clearly defined using a context free grammar in Backus-Naur form. Furthermore, consistent combinations of features and configuration rules are ensured using respectively constraints and a conflict resolution algorithm. However, Feature-EPC and C-EPC suffer from the same weakness: large configurable process models. In COV-EPC and PCL-EPC the problem of large configurable process models is solved. COV-EPC ensures consistent combinations of options and configuration rules using respectively validities and a conflict resolution algorithm. PCL-EPC guarantees consistent combinations of process fragments by means of a PCL specification.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: DBIS Research > Master and Phd-Thesis
Depositing User: Prof. Dr. Manfred Reichert
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2009 22:52
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2012 17:59

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