Pattern 6 (Case Handling)

FLASH animation of Case Handling pattern


The ability to allocate the work items within a given case to the same resource at the time that the case is commenced.


All tasks in a given case of the Prepare defence process are allocated to the same Legal Advisor.


Case Handling is a specific approach to work distribution that is based on the premise that all work items in a given case are so closely related that they should all be undertaken by the same resource. The identification of the specific resource occurs when a case (or the first work item in a case) requires allocation.

Case Handling may occur on either a "hard" or "soft" basis i.e. work items within a given case can be allocated exclusively to the same resource which must complete them all or alternatively it can serve as a guide to how work items within a given case should be routed with an initial resource being identified as having responsibility for all work items and subsequently delegating them to other resources or allowing them to nominate work items they would like to complete.


The Case Handling pattern takes the form of a relationship between a process and once or more resources or roles. When an instance of the process is initiated, a resource is selected from the set of resources and roles and the process instance is allocated to this resource. It is expected that this resource will execute work items corresponding to tasks in this process instance.


There are no specific context conditions associated with this pattern.


This approach to work distribution is not generally supported by the offering examined. Only FLOWer (which describes itself as a case handling system) provides direct support.


None identified.



Evaluation Criteria

An offering achieves full support if it satisfies the description for the pattern.

Product Evaluation

To achieve a + rating (direct support) or a +/- rating (partial support) the product should satisfy the corresponding evaluation criterion of the pattern. Otherwise a - rating (no support) is assigned.





Staffware 9 - Not supported
Websphere MQ Workflow 3.4 - Not supported
FLOWer 3.0 + Achieved by specifying that all plan elements should have the same user
COSA 4 - Not supported
iPlanet 3.1 - Not supported
BPMN 1.0 - Not supported
UML 2.0 - Not supported
Oracle BPEL 10.1.2 + Oracle BPEL PM supports this pattern directly. The feature of dynamic assignment using an XPath expression allows specifying that a next task must be assigned to the resource who executed the previous (first) task. In particular, the function ora:getPreviousTaskApprover() can be used for this purposes
jBPM 3.1.4 - jBPM does not support this pattern.
OpenWFE 1.7.3 - OpenWFE does not support this pattern.
Enhydra Shark 2 - Enhydra Shark does not support this pattern.

Summary of Evaluation

+ Rating

+/- Rating

  1. Workflow engine supports the ability to allocate all work items in a given case to the same resource.
  2. Allocations are implied/specified at process level rather than for individual task definitions.
  1. N/A