Fine grained Process Modelling:
An Experiment at British Airways

Wolfgang Emmerich*, Sergio Bandinelli+, Luigi Lavazza# and Jim Arlow& 

* Dept. of Computer Science,
City University London,
Northampton Square,
London EC1V 0HB, UK 

+ European Software Institute,
Parque Tecnologico, 204
48170 Zamudio, Bizkaia

# Politecnico di Milano
Via Emanueli 15
20126 Milano

& 8a Butler Ave
Middx, HA1 4EH, UK
We report on the experimental application of process technology at British Airways (BA). We used SLANG to model BA's C++ class library management process, and we constructed an experimental process-centred software engineering environment (PSEE) based on SPADE. BA required processes to be automated at a finer degree of granularity than tool invocation. We have demonstrated that SLANG and SPADE offer the basic mechanisms for modelling these fine-grained processes. We have also shown that it is feasible to generate tools for dedicated processes and integrate them with a SLANG model so as to facilitate fine-grained process automation. However, our experience highlighted some open problems. For instance, SLANG process models are tuned to efficient enactment, thus containing very detailed process fragments. These are not the most appropriate representation for humans trying to understand the process model. A more comprehensible notation is needed for design and documentation purposes. Although the airline did not deploy the PSEE in its production environment, the experiment proved beneficial for BA. The modelling uncovered serious flaws in the existing process, and the BA engineers improved their knowledge of process technology.

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Updated on: 17/12/96
Wolfgang Emmerich