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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A proposal for a process modeling methodology Wang, Qingyu

Abstract

Process models are often used to describe organizational processes in contexts such as information system development, introduction of ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, or the redesign of business processes. A technique for describing a process is termed a Process Modeling Language (PML). Current PMLs suffer from several shortcomings. First, different languages emphasize different aspects of processes, and thus might have problems in terms of their expressiveness. Second, many PMLs are intended to support information systems development, rather than model general business processes. As such, they may not have a complete set of clear concepts to represent real world processes. Third, often, PMLs provide a notation, but do not have rules to guide the construction of a process model. This thesis develops a theory-based process modeling methodology. The research starts by observing five PMLs: EPC (Event-controlled Process Chains), IDEF0 (Integrated Definition 0), IDEF3 (Integrated Definition 3), UML (Unified Modeling Language) Activity Diagrams and the EDPM (Event-Driven Process Model) Method. Based on analyzing the constructs of these PMLs, the thesis identifies and defines a set of generic PML constructs and uses them to compare the five PMLs. It then analyzes the notion of a process based on Bunge's ontology (as adapted by Wand and Weber, and termed BWWP) and develops an ontology-based process model (termed OBPM). The analysis leads to two outcomes: a set of rules to map generic PML constructs to BWWP constructs, and a set of ontology-based integrity rules for building process models. The first outcome is used to evaluate the five PMLs in terms of completeness and clarity. The evaluation helps to clarify the basic concepts of each process modeling methodology and identify possible weaknesses. The second outcome is used to generate an ontology-based process modeling algorithm. This algorithm can be used to guide the construction of process models, where the integrity rules should be followed. Together, the generic process model, the mapping and integrity rules, and the algorithm provide for a theory-based process modeling methodology. The methodology provides the basic concepts, procedures and rules to build a generic process model, which covers all aspects of processes: functional, behavioral, organizational and informational. The integrity rules enable the checking of process models for semantic correctness. The algorithm provides a modeling procedure (based on the mapping rules) to create a process model for a given situation. Finally, the mapping rules and the algorithm can be used to point our missing information in models based on PMLs currently in use.

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