The application of the unified modelling language and soft systems metholdology for modelling the production process in an aluminium plant.
This research explores the combined use of soft systems methodology (SSM) and UML based business process modelling (BPM) techniques. These two techniques are integrated to provide a framework for the analysis and definition of suitable business process models. Such integration better supports developers following objectoriented (00) approaches than traditional business process modelling. The thesis describes the importance and difficulties in getting development proj ects aimed at the correct needs. We provide an overview of current business process modelling practices. From this it is argued that current practices show two major weaknesses. Firstly, the modelling language that is used is not a current standard amongst developers who now expect 00 and UML based approaches. Secondly, the techniques used do not emphasise analysis, often resulting in a lack of appreciation of the problem. In order to deal with these inadequacies, the thesis critically examines suitable techniques that can be used to analyse and model business processes to support the developer's requirements. The examination of SSM reveals that the technique does deal with the analysis limitations of current business process modelling techniques. SSM has been linked to information systems provision by previous researchers. Unfortunately the examination ofthese research attempts shows that the linking is conducted in an ad-hoc manner with no underlying theoretical basis or emphasis on business process modelling. We show how soft systems methodology techniques can be married with Eriksson and Penker (2000) UML business process modelling techniques following Mingers (2001) multi-methodology framework in a way that can over come these difficulties. This combined business analysis and modelling technique is applied to the production process in an aluminium rolling plant. Based on the experiences at one site, the integrated approach is able to deal with the complexities caused by multiple stakeholders, and is able to provide a UML representation of the required business process to guide developers.
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