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Process Mining Transformations — Part 2: Unfold Loops for Activity Repetitions

This is the 2nd article in our series on typical process mining data preparation tasks. You can find an overview of all articles in the series here.

In the previous article, we have shown how loops can be split up into individual cases. The same principle can also be useful when looking at looping activities.

For example, let’s take a look at the purchasing process in Figure 1. When we analyze the performance of this process we can see that some cases do not fulfill the SLA of 21 days throughput time. It seems that the two ‘Amend’ activities could be an important factor in these delays. Not only because of the long average waiting times but also because some of the cases go through the ‘Amend’ step multiple times: At least one case went through the ‘Amend Request for Quotation Requester’ step 12 times!

Figure 1: Fragment of the process map for the purchasing process. The primary metric that is shown in the map is ‘Mean duration’ while the secondary metric is ‘Maximum repetitions’.

The nature of a loop (or cycle) is that even if the same activity is repeated within the same case, it is represented by the same activity node in the process map. For example, the secondary metric in the process map in Figure 1 shows that the activity ‘Analyze Request for Quotation’ was performed up to 14 times within a single case. But each of these iterations is represented by

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