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Process modeling and theory

Process modeling and theory topic folder

Basic Concepts for Process Modeling and Theory: Are We Using the Same Nouns for the Same Concepts?

Talking about Process Modeling and Theory appears to assume from the beginning that everybody shares a common notion of the basic notions (as the very basic notion of "Process"). But following an interesting discussion about if people are using the same nouns for the same things in the Model-Driven Architecture domain, I immediately did the exercise of projecting this discussion on our BPM domain. And I immediately wonder if we could assess that there is such an "ontological consensus" about something so simple as just what a process really is. Would every member of the BPM audience give the same definition for a Process if we were asked for it? In such a domain specific group, the usage of a precise vocabulary is a must. But as I read in that discussion, "as evil is hidden in the details, I do think that people's different understanding of terms of an implicit vocabulary leads to bigger misunderstanding when this vocabulary is used to argument complex point of view. The risk behind that is to spend many times of discussion, without thinking of the same things. Is the BPM vocabulary implicit in the sense that we assume that everybody manages the same concepts in the same way? Do we all share an explicit, ontologically-based vocabulary, where any concepts is precisely defined, with no space to ambiguity?

When we discuss about Process, Process Models, Business Process Models, Tasks, Activities, Enterprise Models... and we use different modeling frameworks to characterize these definitions,  and we try to compare them...are we using "exactly" the same nouns for the same things? If the answer were not, we would have a serious problem: we would be modeling different things, what could make many of our discussions useless. Should we -as the BPM community- use a terminology repository (or use an existing one) intended to provided an "ontological commitment" to be shared by the whole BPM community, where members could rely on to link terms used in different contexts with different meanings?

What do you think about it?


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