about processes and engines

workflow vs bpm

I watch (at least) two slices of the blogging cloud (no “sphere” today), the “programmers” one and the “business process management” one.

The term “workflow” appears more in the “programmers” slice these days, see for example “My Git Workflow”.

If you take a look at what’s currently popular in the “workflow” bookmarks, you’ll see that in the top ten there are 4 items that are not about workflow in the ‘pure’ business process management sense. But they qualify as managed business processes in John Reynolds’ terms, where

If a Process has multiple Participants, at least one of the Participants is Human, and the transitions between the Activities are controlled by an automated system, then it’s a Managed Business Process.

But a person going through the routine of his personal photography workflow is probably not going to call it a “business process”.

So what I do is probably more about BPM, the term workflow sliding towards “my own personal work flow”.

Written by John Mettraux

May 12, 2008 at 1:00 am

Posted in bpm, workflow

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Just a follow up since you were so kind as to quote me… How would you suggest that I refine my MBP definition to make the distinction between what’s really a personal workflow, and what we’d consider a business process? I was thinking that “Multiple Participants” covered it… but apparently not.

    Thanks for reading,


    John Reynolds

    May 21, 2008 at 1:42 am

  2. Hello John,

    I think I jumped at your definition a bit too quickly : you are talking about “business processes”, that name excludes “personal workflows” which produce nothing of interest/value to a business partner.

    But then, what about a professional photographer using a digital workflow tool to produce digital assets for his customers… It’s still a “managed business process”.

    I favour the term “digitized business process”, because “managed business process” doesn’t imply automation [via software].

    Even without automation, a company could be considered an “operating system for business processes”, (SOA is not that far).

    I like your latest post ( it introduces the term “script”… I’ll develop on that “script” idea a bit later (blog post).

    I stop for now, I could write a whole post in reply.

    Kind regards,

    John Mettraux

    May 21, 2008 at 2:32 am

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: