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Web development encompasses creation, modification, review, and approval of assets for eventual use in a web site. Web development has characteristics that make it exceedingly difficult for an organization to manage. These characteristics encompass people, project, and business factors.

The key to overcoming these difficulties is to use a workflow infrastructure to combine people, projects, and a business environment into a virtual assembly line. In a virtual assembly line, a highly skilled contributor is presented with a task to perform in the context of other related assets, where the required task can be completed efficiently. Upon completion of the task, the contributor transitions the job to the next task and to the next contributor with minimal delay. This works harmoniously with the business environment because all of this occurs within established processes and procedures. Errors and process failures are minimized.

A number of concepts underpin the workflow paradigm. An important foundation is the identification of repeated patterns of interaction between people, projects, and the business environment. The patterns are codified into workflow job specifications, which are programs that run within the workflow infrastructure to create workflow jobs. A workflow job consists of tasks that are related by transition links.

A good workflow design consists of a structure that meets its requirements: as simple as possible, but no simpler. The goal is to identify interaction sequences for which codifying into workflow jobs will reap benefits to the organization. Benefits include the following:

  • Saving time

  • Increasing throughput by eliminating waiting

  • Reducing errors

  • Improving adherence to established processes

  • Allowing greater ability to undertake web initiatives

Practitioner's Checklist

  1. Identify interaction sequences.

  2. Identify candidate workflow for more detailed investigation.

  3. Sketch the steps.

  4. Identify known and not-yet-known parameters.

  5. Add remaining transitions, especially "backward transitions."

  6. Add notification steps.

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