Fine grained Process Modelling: An Experiment at British Airways

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

& British Airways Plc, TBE (E124),
Viscount Way, Hounslow, UK
Jim.Arlow at 

Parque Tecnologico, 204
48170 Bizkaia, Spain
Sergio.Bandinelli at

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

+ Politecnico di Milano
Via Emanueli 15
20126 Milano, Italy
lavazza at
We report on the experimental application of process technology that we did at British Airways (BA) as part of the GOODSTEP project. The goal of GOODSTEP was to enhance and improve the functionality of an object database management system (ODBMS) to yield a platform suited to the construction of process-centred software engineering environments (PSEEs). These enhancements were exploited and validated by the construction of the GOODSTEP framework for PSEE construction, which includes the SPADE software process toolset. We used the process modeling language SLANG to model BA's C++ class library management process, and we constructed an experimental PSEE based on SPADE. BA required processes to be automated at a finer degree of granularity than that of 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 within 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 representations for humans trying to understand the process model. Although the airline did not deploy the PSEE in its production environment, the experiment proved beneficial for BA because the modelling activity itself uncovered serious flaws in the existing process.

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Updated on: 31/07/97
Wolfgang Emmerich