Towards a formal definition of goal‐oriented business process patterns

Birger Andersson (DSV, Stockholm University/The Royal Institute of Technology, Kista, Sweden)
Ilia Bider (IbisSoft, Stockholm, Sweden)
Paul Johannesson (DSV, Stockholm University/The Royal Institute of Technology, Kista, Sweden)
Erik Perjons (DSV, Stockholm University/The Royal Institute of Technology, Kista, Sweden)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Organizations of today are becoming ever more focused on their business processes. This has resulted in an increasing interest in using best practices for business process re‐engineering. Two problems arise in connection to using best practices: how to find a best practice that suits particular purposes, and how to ensure that the process from the best practice has the same nature as the process under re‐engineering. The purpose of this paper is to address these issues.


The paper suggests using business process patterns, i.e. relatively high level business process models, for making near formal comparison of business processes. The paper analyzes widespread modeling techniques to find out which of them suits the task of building patterns for comparison. Based on this analysis, the state‐flow modeling technique is chosen and first steps towards formal definition of business process patterns based on this technique are suggested.


A pattern is defined based on the notions of state space, goal, as a surface in the state space, and valid movements towards the goal. A thinkable procedure of constructing patterns is demonstrated on two real‐life examples. A hypothetical procedure for comparing process is suggested but it still needs to be verified in practice.


The originality of the paper is the way the patterns are formulated and the underlying model, the state‐flow view of processes, upon which the patterns are founded.



Andersson, B., Bider, I., Johannesson, P. and Perjons, E. (2005), "Towards a formal definition of goal‐oriented business process patterns", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 11 No. 6, pp. 650-662.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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