An Empirical Study on Consistency Management of Business and IT Process Models

TitleAn Empirical Study on Consistency Management of Business and IT Process Models
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBranco, M., Y. Xiong, K. Czarnecki, J. M. Küster, and H. Voelzer
InstitutionGenerative Software Development Laboratory
Report NumberGSDLAB-TR 2012-03-22

Process models support the transition from business requirements to IT
implementations. Organizations that adopt process modeling often
maintain several co-existing models of the same business process.
These models target different abstraction levels and stakeholder
perspectives. Maintaining consistency among these models has become a
major challenge for such organizations. Although several academic
works have discussed this challenge, little empirical investigation
exists on how people perform process model consistency management in
practice. This paper aims to address this lack by presenting an
in-depth empirical study of a business-driven engineering process
deployed at a large company in the banking sector. We analyzed more
than 70 business process models developed by the company, including
their change history, with over 1000 change requests. We also
interviewed 9 business and IT practitioners and surveyed 23 such
practitioners to understand concrete difficulties in consistency
management, the rationales for the specification-to-implementation
refinements found in the models, strategies that the practitioners use
to detect and fix inconsistencies, and how tools could help with these
tasks. Our contributions are 1) an account of how business process
models co-evolve and how their consistency is maintained in a concrete
industrial setting; 2) a set of recurrent patterns used to refine
business-level process specifications into IT-level models, and 3) a
set of findings that confirm or contradict conventional wisdom on
process model consistency management found in the literature.

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