ICSP5: Computer Supported Organizational Work

Integrating Active Databases, Coordination, Method Engineering, Process, and Workflow technologies

14-17 June 1998
Chicago, Illinois, USA
at the Lisle/Naperville Hilton Hotel

Sponsored by the International Software Process Association (ISPA)
In cooperation with ACM SigSoft
Industrial Sponsors: Lucent Technologies, Motorola

Tutorial on Workflow and Process

Software and Business Process Technology

Volker Gruhn and Wilhelm Schaefer

Department of Computer Science
University of Dortmund and University of Paderborn

Keywords: Workflow, Software Development Processes


The tutorial presents the state-of-the-art technology in software process and business process technology and its exploitation in an industrial context. The technology presented includes languages, tools, and substrates (data base and operating system functionality) being used to model, analyze, and execute business and software processes. The industrial context is based on building, using, and selling a complete workflow environment including tools for modeling, analyzing, and executing workflows. This environment called LEU (LION Environment) is used in various industrial sectors like real estate, software process, and insurance. It has been built by especially exploiting available software process technology and adapting the technology to other business contexts. LION is a 400 person software house. LEU is its key strategic product in the workflow area. Besides presenting state-of-the-art technology, the tutorial demonstrates in particular that software process technology is applied successfully in the general workflow area.

The tutorial consists of three main parts. In part 1 (Requirements) we will illustrate the needs and benefits of process modeling in general. Examples from various industrial sectors will be used. Part 2 gives an overview of currently available tools, compares them in terms of their functionality and illustrates some of the functionality by giving a demo of the LEU environment. In part 3 the tutorial presents an overview of current technology including the process modeling languages, which are currently in use, the underlying data base and operating system technology which is exploited, and this part finishes with a list of open research issues.

We present experiences from an industrial project. In this project six large German housing construction and administration companies decided to develop a new information system supporting a wide range of business processes which are related to housing construction and administration and real estate management. The software system was built in a completely process-driven way: core processes were identified at the very beginning; these processes were modeled, analyzed, and improved; the process models were implemented and, finally, enacted in the housing construction and administration companies.


Participants will get an overview about existing approaches and tools (being commercially available or research prototypes) in software process and business process technology. They will especially learn how these approaches, tools and prototypes relate to each other and how they can mutually benefit.


We assume that the ICSP audience is familiar with the notion of software process, but much less familiar with the notion of business process engineering. This tutorial is particularly useful for people who want to learn about the benefits of software process technology in the area of business process engineering. They also learn about the state-of-the-art of workflow management tools and why they are technologically quite weak but still commercially more successful than pure software process environments.

In general participants who are not experts in software process get an overview of the-state-of-the-art in software process and workflow technology.


Dr. Volker Gruhn has been chief technical officer of a German software house called LION from 1992 to 1996. In this position he was responsible for a software development department of 150 people. Business process (re-)engineering and development of workflow-based software is part of the main business of LION. Since 1997 Volker Gruhn is associate professor in the computer science department at the University of Dortmund. He is chairman of the 6th European Workshop on Software Process Technology.

Dr Wilhelm Schaefer is a full professor in Computer Science at the University of Paderborn, Germany. Prior appointments have been at the University of Dortmund and McGill University in Montreal and a position in industry where he served as the head of an R&D department of a medium-size software house focussing on CASE tools and information systems. He has been a chairman of a number of software process-oriented conferences like the 4th International Conference on the Software Process and the 4th European Workshop on Software Process Technology. He has also been involved in a number of European-Community funded projects on software process technology as a leading technicien.

Volker Gruhn
University of Dortmund
P.O. Box 50 05 00
44221 Dortmund
++ 49 231 755 2782

Wilhelm Schaefer
University of Paderborn
FB 17
33095 Paderborn
++ 49 5251 60 3313

ISPA - This information last updated April 1998
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