In traditional approaches business processes are executed on top of IT-based Workfl ow-Management Systems (WfMS). The key benefits of the application of a WfMS are task coordination, step-by-step guidance through process execution and traceability supporting compliance issues. However, when dealing with human-driven work flows, conventional WfMS turn out to be too restrictive. Especially, the only way to handle exceptions is to bypass the system. If users are forced to bypass WfMS frequently, the system is more a liability than an asset. In order to diminish the dependency from IT-based process management systems, we propose an alternative way of supporting workflow execution that is especially suitable for human-driven processes. We introduce the so-called process checklist representation of process models where processes are described as a paper-based step-by-step instruction handbook.
In the presented Process Checklist approach, processes are described as a paper-based step-by-step instruction handbook. The Process Checklist is handed over during process execution from process participant to process participant. Successful task accomplishments are recorded through signatures of corresponding human agents. In principle the most important outcome is that at the end of the process all required signatures are on the checklist. So it is completely output oriented. Nevertheless, the checklist method describes a valuable form of process usage and widens its spectrum towards non-computer based and flexible and cheap process execution. If needed, certain parts of the checklist can even be deleted, changed or added during the execution by simply using a pen. However, traceability is still maintained. Nevertheless, there is a prerequisite to achieve traceability: proper processing. Human agents have to be honest and conscientious to support this principle. That means among other things that each modification of a process template is signed by the corresponding agent. Besides, a Process Checklist also supports the key benefits of traditional WfMSs. The checklist is handed over to responsible agents (task coordination), process tasks are serialized and marked by a unique identifier (step-by-step guidance) and the checklist itself as well as the corresponding signatures ensure traceable process execution.