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Sunday, 28 April 2013 09:48

Chapter 3 - Flexibility Issues in Process-Aware Information Systems

3.1. Flexibility Needs

In the following the check-in and boarding procedures from the perspective of two hypothetical travelers we will call Tom and Tina Traveler are depicted.

Tom Traveler wants to spend the weekend in Barcelona to explore the city his friends are so enthusiastic about. Since the flight is departing in 90 minutes from the nearby airport in Innsbruck, Tom calls a taxi, which arrives a few minutes later and takes him to the airport which is just a few kilometers from his home. Tom arrives at the airport about an hour before departure. He then immediately goes to the check-in counter where he drops off his bag and gets the boarding pass. Since there is still enough time before boarding Tom decides to drink a quick coffee. Afterwards he gets through security, which is usually quite fast in Innsbruck and only requires a few minutes to complete. For this, Tom has to get his laptop out of his carry-on bag and puts it in the provided bin. He then places his bag as well as his jacket on the conveyor belt to be X-rayed. Having placed the laptop, his bag and the jacket on the conveyor belt, he waits for the signal to proceed through the metal detector. Once he has passed the metal detector, Tom is asked by the screener to take out his camera from the carry-on bag so that she can look through the lens. After this check he is allowed to repack. Tom then buys a newspaper and walks to the gate to wait for the boarding call. Five minutes later boarding starts and Tom enters the airplane.

Like Tom Traveler, Tina Traveler wants to spend the weekend in Barcelona. Tina takes the bus to get to the airport in Innsbruck and arrives about 20 minutes later at the airport. Having arrived at the airport she immediately goes to the check-in counter where she drops off her bag. Unlike Tom, Tina has already printed out her boarding pass at home. After baggage drop-off Tina immediately wants to get through security. Tina places her jacket as well as her carry-on-bag in the provided bin provided on the conveyor belt to be X-rayed. She then waits for the signal to proceed through the metal detector. After the check she gets her carry-on bag as well as her jacket. Tina then buys a newspaper and walks to the gate to wait for the boarding call. A few minutes later boarding starts and Tina enters the airplane.

  • How would you classify this process in terms of predictability and repeatability?
  • What kind of flexibility needs can you identify in this context? 

 

3.2. Flexibility Needs

Give examples (others than the ones described in this book) for business processes requiring variability, looseness, adaptation, and evolution.

  • Give examples where process variability is required. What are the driving forces behind variability in these examples?
  • Think about processes that are characterized by non-repeatability, unpredictability and emergence and therefore require looseness.
  • Give examples for both planned and unforeseen process adaptations.
  • Think about situations where deferred evolution is sufficient. Give examples where immediate evolution is required. Use the taxonomy depicted in Fig. 3.1 to characterize the scenarios.

3-1

Fig. 3.1 A Taxonomy of Process Flexibility Needs

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