Standard Workflow Terminology

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In my opinion, the names that software engineers use to describe their work is very important.  Whether they refers to a variable in source code, an operation of a service, a component in a system, or a some other "thing", names are paramount.  As IT professionals, a lot of our job is centered around communication.  If we aren't using the same words or ones that aptly describe the ideas they’re indented to, we aren't doing our jobs to the best of our abilities. 

As Rozanski and Woods point out in their excellent book Software Systems Architecture, names are "sticky."  For this reason, they should be chosen carefully.  When considering names by which to refer to things, it is best to see if the same idea already has a name; if it does, it should be used.  While this advice may seem obvious, it isn't always followed, making miscommunication inevitable.  The primary reason that I've seen for misnomers is ignorance.  If you don't know a widget is a widget, you'll call it a gizmo. 

In a effort to avoid this in the domain of workflow managment, I'd like to share a collection of terms that I compiled while reading Workflow Management by van der Aalst and van Hee and the Workflow Management Coalition's Workflow Management Coalition Terminology & Glossary (PDF).

The compiled glossary (PDF) can be found in my stash.