JCSCW Vol. 09 (2000)

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  • Journal Article
    ML-DEWS: Modeling Language to Support Dynamic Evolution within Workflow Systems
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 3-4, 2000) Ellis, Clarence; Keddara, Karim
    Organizations that are geared for success within today's business environments must be capable of rapid and continuous change. Dynamic change is a large and pervasive problem which surfaces within organizational workflowsas well as within soft ware engineering, manufacturing, and numerous other domains. Procedural changes, performed in an ad hoc manner, can cause inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and catastrophic breakdowns within organizations. This document is concerned with change, especially dynamic change, to organizational procedures. We explain a taxonomy of change modalities, and present a modeling language for the unambiguous specification of procedural change. This language, call ML-DEWS , complements the formal model of dynamic change previously presented by the authors. Issues of exception handling, temporal specification, and participatory change are conveniently handled within the framework presented in this document.
  • Journal Article
    A Coordination Language For Building Collaborative Applications
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 1, 36586) Cortes, Mauricio
    A collaborative application must support theinteraction of a group of users that share someinformation and have common or complementary goals.Many conflicting situations can arise during acomputer supported meeting when two or moreparticipants access this shared information. Inaddition to data consistency issues (data-levelconflicts), collaborative applications must addressthe specification of interaction rules to control theway users can interact through the application(user-level conflicts) with each other. Theseinteraction rules can vary from session to session,and even during the same session, as users need toestablish new ways to interact with each other. We have developed a coordination programming languagethat helps programmers build new collaborativeapplications or reengineer single-user applications.This language allows programmers to decouplecoordination from computational issues. While acomputational program describes the information thatis being shared, a coordination program determines howa group of users can share this information. Given acomputational program, developers can build multiplecoordination programs. End-users will be able toselect the coordination program that best suit theirneeds to run their collaborative session. A language runtime interpreter executes thesecoordination programs. This interpreter controls theexecution of user actions that are applied to the setof shared objects. Finally, new coordination programscan be loaded in the runtime interpreter at any time,allowing end-users to change the interaction rulesduring an ongoing collaborative session. A descriptionof the runtime interpreter and its implementation isincluded.
  • Journal Article
    A Light Workflow Management System Using Simple Process Models
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 3-4, 36831) Agostini, Alessandra; de Michelis, Giorgio
    Workflow management systems are considereda hot technology. Nevertheless, up to now they havenot had the diffusion other packages such asproductivity tools, E-mail systems and groupwareplatforms have. We believe that this fact is due tothe many limitations of current workflow technology(weak support for changes; complex exception handlingmechanisms; limited openness to and integrability withother system components;...) and that radically newworkflow management systems should be designed anddeveloped in order to offer adequate products to themarket. In this paper, we outline the main innovativefeatures of the workflow management component of theMilano system making it highly flexible and adaptable.Particular attention is paid to its modellingframework, which is based on a class of net systemswell supported by efficient algorithms, and to theservices it offers to both workflow designers andactors. The most relevant aspects of the MILANOworkflow management system are also illustratedthrough a realistic example.
  • Journal Article
    Techniques for Supporting Dynamic and Adaptive Workflow
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 3-4, 36831) Kammer, Peter J.; Bolcer, Gregory Alan; Taylor, Richard N.; Hitomi, Arthur S.; Bergman, Mark
    The unpredictability of business processes requires that workflowsystems support exception handling with the ability to dynamicallyadapt to the changing environment. Traditional approaches to handlingthis problem have fallen short, providing little support for change,particularly once the process has begun execution. Further,exceptions vary widely in their character and significance,challenging the application of any single approach to handling them.We briefly discuss the classification of exceptions, highlightingdiffering impacts on the workflow model. Based on this discussion, wesuggest principal goals to address in the development of adaptiveworkflow support, including strategies for avoiding exceptions,detecting them when they occur, and handling them at various levels ofimpact. We then identify a number of specific approaches to supportingthese goals within the design of a workflow system infrastructure.Finally, we describe the implementation of many of these approaches inthe Endeavors workflow support system.
  • Journal Article
    Work-arounds and Boundary Crossing in a High Tech Optronics Company: The Role of Co-operative Workflow Technologies
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 3-4, 36831) Hayes, Niall
    This study examines how some employeescoped with the exceptions that they encountered withtheir on-going use of a co-operative workflowtechnology in an optronics company. By drawing on thecase material, this paper will indicate thatapproaches which view work as being capable of beingplanned and managed through the formal authority ofthe hierarchy are insufficient. Instead, this paperwill suggest that exception handling, work-arounds andimprovisation are more characteristic of humanactivity. Computer supported co-operative work will beconceptualised as being embedded in a dynamicrelationship between the context it is situatedwithin, and the actors that engage in it. Theprinciples underlying ethnography have informed theresearch approach.
  • Journal Article
    The Organisation in Ethnography –A Discussion of Ethnographic Fieldwork Programs in CSCW
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 2, 2000) Harper, R. H. R.
    Ethnography is now one of the key approaches usedwithin the CSCW community to specify the role ofcomputer based systems in work practice. Yet whatethnography involves as a program of inquiries is onlydiscussed in a piecemeal way in the literature. Thispaper attempts to make up for that absence bydescribing one fieldwork program (or programme)developed over a number of projects in whichethnography has been allied with computer systems andwork practice design. The discussions will be ofinterest to both expert practitioners of ethnographyand novices.
  • Journal Article
    A Knowledge-based Approach to Handling Exceptions in Workflow Systems
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 3-4, 36831) Klein, Mark; Dellarocas, Chrysanthos
    This paper describes a novel knowledge-based approachfor helping workflow process designers andparticipants better manage the exceptions (deviationsfrom an ideal collaborative work process caused byerrors, failures, resource or requirements changesetc.) that can occur during the enactment of aworkflow. This approach is based on exploiting ageneric and reusable body of knowledge concerning whatkinds of exceptions can occur in collaborative workprocesses, and how these exceptions can handled(detected, diagnosed and resolved). This work buildsupon previous efforts from the MIT Process Handbookproject and from research on conflict management incollaborative design.
  • Journal Article
    Workflow Systems: Occasions for Success and Failure
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 2, 36647) Grinter, Rebecca E.
    Workflow technologies have created considerable discussion within the computer supported cooperative work community. Although a number of theoretical and empirical warnings about the difficulties of workflow systems have appeared, the technologies continue to be built and sold. This paper examines the use of one workflow-like system and outlines three cases when the technology supported the work of its users. Comparing these successful occasions with some reports of difficulties, this paper draws conclusions about the circumstances that led to tool usage.
  • Journal Article
    Supporting Different Dimensions of Adaptability in Workflow Modeling
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 3-4, 2000) Divitini, Monica; Simone, Carla
    This paper discusses the theme of workflow systemadaptability in relation to process modeling. Startingfrom a discussion on the role of formal constructs incooperation, the main claim is that adaptabilityinvolves different dimensions of process modeling.These dimensions concern the possibility to flexiblycombine a rich set of basic categories in order toobtain the most suitable language for modeling thetarget business process and the work practices aroundit; to take into account various levels of visibilityof the contexts of definition and use of a processmodel; and finally to allow for temporary as well aspermanent modifications of the process itself.Ariadne, a notation conceived for the above purpose,is illustrated by means of a working example.Moreover, the paper presents the main designprinciples governing Ariadne's implementation.
  • Journal Article
    Configuration for Adaptation – A Human-centered Approach to Flexible Workflow Enactment
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 9, No. 3-4, 2000) Faustmann, Gert
    The advantages of today's processmanagement, such as efficiency and quality aspects,are achieved by enforcing detailed models of workprocesses. However, real world processes can beplanned to a limited degree only and sometimes plannedparts of the process must be changed,creating a need for additional, unforeseen activities.This paper suggests an approach that configuresparts of a detailed process model with differentsupport strategies. The explicit modelling of thesesupport strategies allows them to be changed ifdemanded by the situation. When enacting such aprocess model it is then possible to vary the degreeto which the model determines the work ofindividuals. The concept is based on an earlierenactment concept which allowed workers to freelychoose methods for their tasks according to thesituation. Besides the incorporation of differentsupport strategies, the extended enactment strategygives workers the opportunity to negotiate aboutchanging a currently too restrictive support strategy,giving scope for deviations from the plannedprocess where additional actions are required.