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Preview: ACM Queue - Workflow Systems

ACM Queue - Workflow Systems


The IDAR Graph

Wed, 03 May 2017 11:46:10 GMT

UML is the de facto standard for representing object-oriented designs. It does a fine job of recording designs, but it has a severe problem: its diagrams don't convey what humans need to know, making them hard to understand. This is why most software developers use UML only when forced to. People understand an organization, such as a corporation, in terms of a control hierarchy. When faced with an organization of people or objects, the first question usually is, "What's controlling all this?" Surprisingly, UML has no concept of one object controlling another. Consequently, in every type of UML diagram, no object appears to have greater or lesser control than its neighbors. These problems mean designs tend to become messy during both initial implementation and maintenance, resulting in more bugs and delays.

Getting What You Measure

Tue, 29 May 2012 14:52:23 GMT

Software metrics - helpful tools or a waste of time? For every developer who treasures these mathematical abstractions of software systems there is a developer who thinks software metrics are invented just to keep project managers busy. Software metrics can be very powerful tools that help achieve your goals but it is important to use them correctly, as they also have the power to demotivate project teams and steer development in the wrong direction.

Keeping Score in the IT Compliance Game

Fri, 15 Sep 2006 08:48:43 GMT

Keeping Score in the IT Compliance Game

ALM can help organizations meet tough IT compliance requirements.


Achieving developer acceptance of standardized procedures for managing applications from development to release is one of the largest hurdles facing organizations today. Establishing a standardized development-to-release workflow, often referred to as the ALM (application lifecycle management) process, is particularly critical for organizations in their efforts to meet tough IT compliance mandates. This is much easier said than done, as different development teams have created their own unique procedures that are undocumented, unclear, and nontraceable.

Achieving 100 percent compliance from all development teams requires that the ALM team clearly communicate the levels of compliance to the developers and clearly communicate to upper management which development teams are and are not in compliance. Keeping track of the game using a simple “compliance scorecard” can do the job.

Under New Management

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 14:14:46 GMT

In an increasingly competitive global environment, enterprises are under extreme pressure to reduce operating costs. At the same time they must have the agility to respond to business opportunities offered by volatile markets.

Best Practice (BPM)

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 14:14:06 GMT

Just as BPM (business process management) technology is markedly different from conventional approaches to application support, the methodology of BPM development is markedly different from traditional software implementation techniques. With CPI (continuous process improvement) as the core discipline of BPM, the models that drive work through the company evolve constantly. Indeed, recent studies suggest that companies fine-tune their BPM-based applications at least once a quarter (and sometimes as often as eight times per year). The point is that there is no such thing as a "finished" process; it takes multiple iterations to produce highly effective solutions. Every working BPM-based process is just a starting point for the future. Moreover, with multiple processes that could benefit from BPM-style automated support, the issue becomes how to support dozens or even hundreds of engagements per year.

People and Process

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 14:13:20 GMT

When Mike Hammer and I published Reengineering the Corporation in 1992, we understood the impact that real business process change would have on people. I say "real" process change, because managers have used the term reengineering to describe any and all corporate change programs. One misguided executive told me that his company did not know how to do real reengineering; so it just downsized large departments and business units, and expected that the people who were left would figure out how to get their work done. Sadly, this is how some companies still practice process redesign: leaving people overworked and demoralized, while customers experience bad service and poor quality. I am reminded of poorly managed mergers and consolidations in the retail banking industry and what employees and customers have suffered.

Going with the Flow

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 14:12:40 GMT

An organization consists of two worlds. The real world contains the organization's structure, physical goods, employees, and other organizations. The virtual world contains the organization's computerized infrastructure, including its applications and databases. Workflow systems bridge the gap between these two worlds. They provide both a model of the organization's design and a runtime to execute the model.

BPM: The Promise and the Challenge

Fri, 16 Apr 2004 10:17:24 GMT

BPM: The Promise and the Challenge

It’s all about closing the loop from conception to execution and back.

Over the last decade, businesses and governments have been giving increasing attention to business processes—to their description, automation, and management. This interest grows out of the need to streamline business operations, consolidate organizations, and save costs, reflecting the fact that the process is the basic unit of business value within an organization.

The design and automation of business processes even warrants its own field of study, known as BPM (business process management). A quote from IBM Systems Journal sums it up nicely: “BPM technology provides not only the tools and infrastructure to define, simulate, and analyze business process models, but also the tools to implement business processes in such a way that the execution of the resulting software artifacts can be managed from a business process perspective.”1