Control-Flow Patterns

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Control-Flow Patterns as a kind of Workflow Patterns are workflow activities arranged in just the right way to solve similiar modelling problems in the same structural manner. Like reusable process solutions they prevent reinventing the wheel.

An important question is, how do the different BPM standards like BPEL and BPMN support this in theory defined workflow patterns.

W.M.P van der Aalst et al. (P4) proposed 2003 [1] a concise classification of 20 workflow patterns. This patterns were revised and enhanced in 2006 up to 43 patterns [2].

The P4 patterns are oriented towards control flow, which is only one aspect of process design. They could be enhanced with Communication Patterns and Human Workflow Patterns.


Basic Control Flow Patterns

Basic Control Flow Patterns cover fundamental process capabilities.

Advanced Branching and Synchronization Patterns

Advanced Branching and Synchronization Patterns enhance the fundamental process capabilities of Basic Control Flow Patterns.

Multiple Instance Pattern (MI)

Multiple Instances of an activity run concurrently in one active overall process instance.

State-based patterns

Apply to processes that are largely event-driven and wait most of the time for an event to activate the next activity.

Cancellation and Force Completion Patterns

A process should be cancel-able at any activity in the control flow. Realised by a single check that covers the execution of the entire process is a better solution than cancellation checks at each present activity.

Iteration Patterns

Termination Patterns

Trigger Patterns

Human Workflow Patterns

Based on human interaction between the workflowmanagement system and the resource, this processes are often form based and wait state driven.


  1. Wil van Der Aalst, Arthur H.M. Hofstede, Bartek Kiepuszewski, and Alistair P. Barros (2003). Icon_pdf.gif Workflow Patterns Info_circle.png. Distributed and Parallel Databases 14 (1): pp. 5--51. doi:10.1023/A:1022883727209.
  2. N. Russell, A.H.M. ter Hofstede, W.M.P. van der Aalst, and N. Mulyar. Icon_pdf.gif Workflow Control-Flow Patterns: A Revised View Info_circle.png. BPM Center Report BPM-06-22 ,, 2006

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