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  • General Business Process Management - Glossary

    Vikas Kumar 9

    Table of Contents


    This shall be a general standard Business Process Management (BPM) Glossary, not specifically valid for TIBCO Business Process Management Products only. The list includes high-level categories subdivided into more deeper characteristics.

    Design time

    • Project, a bundle of multiple procedure definitions and artifacts

      (this could include all components belong to them, like e.g. Data Fields, Forms, Service Interfaces, Process definitions, Rules)

    • Process, a process Definition of a Process Flow 
    • Sub-Process, independent reusable part of a Process Definition to typically hide complexity and/or wrap (business) logic
    • Start, starting point of a process
    • End, ending point of a process
    • Activity, actions to be executed within the process flow
    • Task, similar to activity and often used within page flow ('human task')
    • Participant, resource (system or user) that executes the activity or task
    • Form, UI representation of a human task 
    • Event, something that can influence the flow execution from the outside
    • Signal, can influence the flow execution from inside the process, or other processes ('inter-process communication')
    • Timer, timely automation of the flow e.g. for deadline escalation, to meet SLAs, or retry scenarios for failed services
    • Service, automated Execution by using Integration e.g. by using technologies like REST, SOAP, JAVA, SQL, etc. 
      • Data Service
      • Rule Service
      • Integration Service
    • Service Process, activity flow that combine multiple services within one (usually) stateless process
    • Business Service, activity flow manually started by users, usually page flows or just a single form; process starter functionality
    • Process Starter, typically used to enable users to fill out initial forms and - on purpose - cancel directly; reduces system and database load through pre-evaluations 
    • Page flow, manually executed flow that contains multiple manual activities and sometimes Services, too.

      Wizard of forms in combination with service calls to enrich worker's productivity.

    • Gateway, conditions and flow control objects within the flow, e.g. to parallelize activities or branch into different sections 
    • Rule, more or less complex logical rules, business rules, decision tables
    • Data Fields 
      • Basic, single or arrays of just strings, numbers, date, time, etc. value types
      • Complex, data class definitions that can contain multiple basic types and a hierarchy 
      • Global Data, data that is shared between multiple process instances

        (Basic and Complex belong to one process Instance only)

      • Documents, attached artifacts referenced by a process Instance or central Global Data Store

        (e.g. TIFF, PDF, DOC, etc.)

      • Interface, individual data structures based Basic, Complex, and Global Data,

        hat can be defined once and reused in multiple implementations 

      • Reference, Case Ref for instance


    • Engine, the Business Process Management Software is running on a Server
    • Application, a Project defined at Design time running on the Engine
    • Process Instance, single running process flow containing his own dataset
      • active, currently in execution in human activities with outstanding work items or in service execution
      • closed, completed process instance
      • suspended, locked process instance in the current status of the execution
      • halted, stopped/paused process instance because of an error, it can be e.g. retried
    • Inbox, holds all current work items of a human resource that are assigned to him or a group he belongs to
    • Work View, a filtered and/or somehow sorted Inbox
    • Work List, a table that contains the Work items of a Inbox or View
    • Work Item, the process activity or task of a running process instance.
    • Task
      • Schedule, a work item gets created in a Work List
      • Open, a human resource selects a work item and a UI Form will be rendered
      • Close, the Form gets closed and Information entered/changed will be saved
      • Cancel, the Form gets closed and Information entered/changed will be discarded
      • Complete, the Form gets closed and Information entered/changed will be committed to the flow, the flow moves on to the next activities as defined
      • Withdraw, a work item gets removed form the Work List (e.g. because of a Timer escalation or a Signal)
    • Deadline, timer until something needs to be done or a wait for a escalation
    • Attributes, data fields belong to a process instance, an event, or work item


    • Frontend, user interface
    • Business Process Management, responsible for the enterprise business process execution
    • Composite Service, higher level automated Service Process sometimes against multiple Backend Systems,

                used by the Business Process Management System

    • Integration Service, single Service containing multiple Operations against one Backend or System
    • Service Operations, a single functionality e.g. create new Order in Backend
    • Backend, a key System with the record of truth containing Business Data, e.g. a Order System or Document Management System
    • Analytics, Statistics and Analysis in Dashboards about Business Data, running Instances, and actual Status Information.
    • Reporting, more historical Dashboards of the Analytics.


    • Workforce Management, how work gets distributes for human resources
      • offer, work item that gets send to multiple human resources
      • allocate, work item that gets send to a single human resources and assigned to him
    • Retain Familiar, the work items of one process instance get always allocated to the same human resource, for defined Activities
    • Separation of Duties, the work items of one process instance get never again to the same user, for defined Activities
    • Chained Execution, the work items of one process instance get automatically pushed to the same user, for defined Activities

      (like in Page flows, but persisted and stateful)

    • Piling, the same type of work item (same Process and Activity Type) get automatically pushed to the user

    Case Management

    • Case, just data and/or documents that belong to the same business concern with a Status, e.g. an Order, Claim, or Customer
    • Case-Search, search functionality for existing Cases
    • Case-Instance, one single record within the search
    • Case-Action, Activities a human resource can execute against a Case-Instance, with regards to Status and Permissions
    • Case-Status, controls available actions e.g. update Order, cancel Order, and describes the case progress

    Organizational Model

    • Organization, a whole enterprise or just a subpart needed to execute a process and perform the Work Management
    • Dynamic Organization, e.g. Branch Offices that can change or reorganized on the fly
    • Group, a defined set of human resources, e.g. like Supervisors
    • Business Unit, a part of the Organization, e.g. Front office
    • Hierarchy, connections between several Business Units
    • Position, a resource Type belong to a Business Unit e.g. Team Leader, Team Member
    • Privileges, permissions that a human resource is able to execute in the engine or business process, e.g. change work item priority or handle employee contracts
    • Capabilities, qualifications or skills of a human resource, e.g. language, trained on VIP customers

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