Using Soft Constraints to Guide Users in Flexible Business Process Management Systems (BPMS)

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Executive Summary

Current BPMS allow designers to specify processes in highly expressive languages supporting numerous control flow constructs, exceptions, compensation handling, complex predicates, policies, etc. The resulting specification can be anything from extremely flexible to extremely rigid, but there is an unfortunate trade-off: rigid specifications become a hindrance when unanticipated deviations occur, and too flexible specifications lack information about best practices and recommended order, because everything is possible. Both specifications are expressed exclusively in terms of hard constraints and even very clever specifications can only partially alleviate this.

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