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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The uses of process modeling : a framework for understanding modeling formalisms


There is wide-spread recognition of the urgent need to improve software processes in order to improve the performance of software organizations. Process models are essential in achieving understanding and visibility of processes and are important for other uses including the analysis of processes for improvement. It has been increasingly difficult to compare and evaluate the variety of process modeling formalisms that have appeared in recent years without a clear understanding of precisely for what they will be used. The contribution of this paper is to provide an understanding and a fairly comprehensive catalog of the applications of process modeling for which formalisms may be used. The primary mechanism for doing this is a guided tour of the literature on process modeling supplemented by recent industrial experience. In the paper, basic definitions concerning processes, process descriptions and process modeling are reviewed and then uses of process modeling are surveyed under the following headings: communication among process participants, construction of new processes, control of processes, process· analysis, and process support by automation. Comments are offered on paradigms for process modeling formalisms and directions for future work to permit evolution of a discipline of process engineering are given.

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