Enterprises can be defined in terms of systems and processes, the former supporting the latter.
As for systems, processes can be initially characterized using four basic yardsticks.
- The prime purpose of processes is not to specify activities, only the way they must be carried out if and when activities have to be executed separately.
- Separate execution implies differentiated activities.
- Separate execution can be dictated by intrinsic constraints, organizational context, or resources availability.
- Iterative processes and MBSE can be seen as marking processes conceptual limits, the former because a single activity (possibly composite) is repeated, the latter because models transformations can, at least in theory, be carried out independently of contexts and time-frames.
Whereas these four tenets are not enough to define processes, they should serve as necessary foundations.