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Business Process Modeling, Management and Mining

Business Process Discovery

Prof. Cesare Pautasso
[email protected]

Discovery Goals

Processes are hidden in organizations, waiting to be found

Identify Processes: distinguish processes, select the important ones

Represent Processes: gather knowledge about processes so that they can be modeled

Scoping: Case/Function Matrix

Define process boundaries depending on organizational aspects (which business functions are involved) and a classification of cases (which way different products/services are handled)

Scoping Guidelines

Marlon Dumas et al

Aggregate or split the cells of the matrix depending on:

  1. Common flow object
  2. Multiplicity (1:1, 1:N, N:M)
  3. State Transitions
  4. Time Frequency (daily, monthly, yearly)
  5. Location Specificity
  6. Functional Uniformity

Common Flow Object

Look for shared artifacts or data objects

Example: loan application, research grant proposal, support request, purchase order

Guideline: each process should flow around the same object

Multiplicity Discontinuity

Look for cardinality changes in flow objects

Example: individual vs. batched processing, students apply individually but graduate together

Guideline: split processes along multiplicity discontinuities (1:N, N:M)

Multiplicity Patterns

Alec Sharp

Processes may be reassembled following the nested structure of multiplicity discontinuities

State Transitions

Look for state changes in flow objects

Example: in preparation, under review, published, out of print

Guideline: focus processes on each state

Time Frequency Change

Look for time-dependent events

Example: monthly releases, quarterly reports, yearly tax returns

Guideline: separate processes with different time triggers

Location Specificity

Look for location dependent behaviors

Example: privacy regulations, cultural norms, localized products

Guideline: processes may have to be performed differently to comply with different local customs and constraints

Functional Uniformity

Ensure the same functions are involved for different case types

Example: vip customers, fast-track processing

Guideline: split processes between case types if these involve a different subset of business functions

Functional Uniformity

Process Portfolio

Evaluate the identified processes to determine:

Process Importance

Fabio Casati

Weigh the importance of processes based on:

Process Portfolio Actions

Representing Processes

  1. Boundaries
  2. Activities and Events
  3. Roles and Resources
  4. Handovers
  5. Control and Data Flow (Happy Path)
  6. Exceptions and Deadlines

Process Boundaries

  1. Starting Conditions
  2. Ending Results
  3. Participants and Partners
  4. Input/Output Data

Starting a Process

  1. Instance per Request
  2. Periodic Batched Processing
  3. Singleton, One Token Per Request

Activities and Events

Roles and Resources

Activities and Resources


Handovers: transfers of responsability between roles (initial control flow sketch)

Are participants aware of who is picking up their work and where it comes from?

Control and Data Flow

Exceptions and Deadlines

Modeling Recommendations

Naming Recommendations

Alec Sharp

Processes, their subprocesses and activities should be named following the
action verb – optional qualifier – noun
format to clearly identify their result

Example: Take Order, Develop New Product, Pay Invoice, Record Customer Name

Bad Example: Handle Application
Better Example: Accept Application, Check Application, Reject Application

Avoid unclear verbs: Maintain, Manage, Administer, Handle, Process, Do, Improve, Support, Facilitate, Drive, Track, Review, Analyze, Monitor, Coordinate.

Quality Assurance

How can you trust a process model?


To ensure the quality of the outcome of the process of process identification and discovery:

Interview Tips

Fabio Casati

Successful interviews require:


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