Process Metamodelling: Conceptual Foundations and Application

Abstract: This study deals with customisation of process modelling languages in method support technology. Technology plays an important role in process improvement since its capabilities limit the choices available for an organisation. The aim is to strive for technology that enables purposeful change, while avoiding technology that forces change to no purpose. The objective of this study is to develop a theory and mechanisms for support technology that enables language change. Process metamodelling is chosen as a means by which process modelling languages can be specified and implemented in a process support environment.

The study forms part of a larger research effort on customisable method support environments. The thesis studies the conceptual basis of process metamodelling and its application in metaCASE technology. The specific objectives are 1) to develop a system architecture for language specification and a generic process engine, 2) to investigate alternatives and principles for language specification, along with the use of these in process enactment, 3) to design and implement the constructs needed for language customisation in a generic modelling system, and 4) to design and implement the mechanism needed to enact process models in a generic process enactment system.

The research methodology takes a constructive approach. It proceeds through an incremental and iterative cycle of observation, theory building, system development, and experimentation. Prototyping forces the theory builder to experiment with the consequences of the theoretical assumptions present in experimental system designs. Each iteration increases the formality of the design, gradually improving and validating the theory. The research is finally synthesised in a set of criteria for assessing customisable method support environments.

Reference: Koskinen, M. 2000. Process Metamodelling: Conceptual Foundations and Application. Jyväskylä Studies in Computing 7. University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

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