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Types, Theories & Systems

Types of Workflows

There are three types of workflows that may be built and used: Sequential, state machine, and rules-driven. The use of the specific type is dependent upon the needs of the project:

Sequential workflow

A sequential workflow is linear. It goes from one task or process to another and does not step back in the sequence.

State machine workflow

A state machine workflow is more complex than a sequential. It goes from one “state” to another. It may step back in the sequence if a dependency mandates.

Rules-driven workflow

A rules-driven workflow is a higher-level sequential workflow. It uses conditions to decide if expressions are “true” or “false,” and the rules are modeled with “if,” “then,” or “else” expressions.

Workflow Theories and Systems

Also note that different theories and systems talk at length about workflow: Six Sigma is a theory that breaks down a process into detail and helps minimize variation by standardizing the workflow process. Lean systems is a system that improves the process workflow by looking for improvement and ways to do more with less. Total Quality Management is a system that refines quality at each step to fine-tune the process. Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is a methodology that uses workflow management software to support the process. Theory of Constraints is a theory that focuses on managing bottlenecks and evaluating workflow bottleneck fixes.