Definition of Process

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A process is a complete set of instructions for the orchestration of behaviours (i.e. activities carried out by specified entities), intended to achieve a particular outcome from a specified initial state, where complete means that all necessary activities are performed by specified performers (i.e. no activity is unallocated a performer).

Compare with procedure in which at least one activity is not assigned.

Whether an orchestration describes a process or a procedure is therefore determined by the rule, If all activities in an orchestration are assigned to performes, the orchestration is a process, otherwise it is a procedure.

Application of the process-procedure distinction allows processes to be audited for completeness.

Other Definitions

See the main Process article for commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of some of these alternative definitions.

The Best Management Practice portfolio glossary1Best Management Practice portfolio glossary, Version 1, October 2012 (may require acceptance of terms) pdf here includes the following alternative definitions2Unfortunately, the BMP common glossary referenced does not cite specific sources..

Generic: A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective.

ITIL: A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective. A process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into defined outputs. It may include any of the roles, responsibilities, tools and management controls required to reliably deliver the outputs. A process may define policies, standards, guidelines, activities and work instructions if they are needed.

PPM: A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective. A process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into defined outputs.

ISO has its own definition:

[a] set of interrelated or interacting activities which transforms inputs into outputs.3ISO 9000:2000, Quality management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary. I cannot find an accessible version of this standard online, but, believing that access to standards is “of particular interest to the public” (I would have said, “in the public interest”), the government of India has made its Indian Standard identical to ISO 9000:2005 and placed it online pdf here. The definition of process is identical.

Scope

Process is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Process is a defined term of Business Analysis.

Notes   [ + ]

1.Best Management Practice portfolio glossary, Version 1, October 2012 (may require acceptance of terms) pdf here
2.Unfortunately, the BMP common glossary referenced does not cite specific sources.
3.ISO 9000:2000, Quality management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary. I cannot find an accessible version of this standard online, but, believing that access to standards is “of particular interest to the public” (I would have said, “in the public interest”), the government of India has made its Indian Standard identical to ISO 9000:2005 and placed it online pdf here. The definition of process is identical.

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