Workflow Process Slicing involves breaking up the process into smaller routines or sub-processes. This not only arranges your process into sequential steps but also creates sections of reusable code.
Because workflow processes tend to grow and grow over time, eventually becoming very large and difficult to manage, we need a way to address that reality. The solution to this problem lies in how we design the workflow solution for each application, each workflow, each user. The solution is called Workflow Process Slicing.
Code programmers or software developers customarily break or "slice" code into functions or process sections so that the code can be reused. This coding practice ultimately creates code "modules" that can be tested or modified one section at a time. When creating Business Process Management (BPM) solutions we should apply this same "module" or "process slicing" design practice.
Process Slicing then can be achieved in a variety of ways. For my purposes today, I will limit the discussion to these three:
- by the person or department that has a specific action within the workflow
- by the workflow function or operation that needs to be performed
- by the current status or process gate associated with that workflow instance
Using a swim lane diagram to illustrate how workflow process slicing by the individual person, department or process owners creates modules within the design that are efficient ways to trouble shoot or modify the process.
Next, with the "function or operation" workflow process slicing method, a large process can be sliced into different modules. For instance, in the process slicing illustration below I am showing a three step Change Notice workflow.
- Step 1 - The user enters the required change notice information to begin the workflow instance.
- Step 2 - The submitted change notice form is routed for approval. This submittal step is a representation of a workflow decision step where the cDevWorkflow engine would decide if the form had been filled out completely and correctly.
- Step 3 - The submitted requested for change is either approved or rejected.
This example of workflow process slicing by function is only a sub-process within a much larger change notice BPM solution. However, this sub-process module also represents an approval sequence that can be reused several times within the same workflow or application.
And then with our third example of workflow process slicing by status, we need to think of the entire change notice workflow and how many different states or process gates occur from start to finish. Workflow design is such that once the change notice is submitted and approved that process slice does not have to be repeated again. The change notice has passed through that logic gate, completing that portion of the workflow.
This example section of workflow process slicing by status clearly defines that break between two sequential workflow functions or operations or departments. And as the change noticed moved further along the workflow process, we can imagine how the engineering departments, project management workflow process slicing process may include these process states:
- conceptual development
- basic design
- detailed design
The engineering workflow process slicing might be designed according to each of these status changes or process gates within the project. And within each of these process slices we could implement our "approve or reject" sub-process module.
The point is that the process gate or status of a workflow instance can be an process input to handle workflow routing and reporting functionality. In the end, workflow process slicing is a tool to be used to help the designer create an efficient BPM solution for everyone concerned.
Workflow process slicing improves efficiency
Workflow process slicing improves the efficiency and the useful life of the BPM solution over the entire life-cycle of the project.
- Easier for the user to define.
- Easier for the designer to create.
- Easier to implement with user interface screens, reports, etc.
- Easier to maintain not just at startup but through the entire life-cycle of the project.
cDevWorkflow helping to make BPM Workflow simply easier for everyone concerned.
A small sampling of the Workflow Technology for BPM Solutions contained within our cDevWorkflow product offering can be found here: Workflow Technology That Works.
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