A Real-World Example of the State Transition Diagram

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This diagram demonstrates the status progression of the submitted thesis. Starting from the left, we see the first status is “Pre-Upload”. This is before the thesis is uploaded by the student. The circle following that status is the “Thesis Uploaded” event. Any circles like this one that have a double border around it are known as events. This first event indicates that the student has uploaded their thesis via the new electronic process. From this event we see a dotted line leading up to a gray rectangle, known as an annotation. The items listed in this rectangle indicate the forms that the student must complete as they upload their thesis. Once this event occurs, the status of the thesis becomes “Thesis Package Received”, which triggers the release of the Thesis Defence Authorization Forms. These are forms that go to the members of the defence committee who must decide whether the thesis is suitable to defend, hence the decision diamond that follows this status: “Defence Authorized?”. If the decision is no, the status of the thesis becomes “Defence Denied”. If yes, we next see the “Notice of Defence Approved” event. This is where a notice is posted in some locations around the university listing the members of the defence committee, and the date, time, and location of the defence. Once this event occurs, the status of the thesis becomes “Ready for Defence”, and from this status we see another annotation leading upwards listing some more forms that are released with this status change. Following this status is the “Defence” event. This is where the student defends their thesis before the defence committee. At the defence the committee will determine whether revisions are required or not, and thus we see another decision diamond for “Revisions?”. If the decision is no, the status proceeds to “Thesis Accepted”. If yes, the status becomes “Requires Major/Minor Revisions”, and in the annotation above this status we see the Thesis Revisions Approval Form is released. Following the “Requires Major/Minor Revisions” status is the “Revisions Uploaded” event. This is where the student has uploaded their modified thesis according to the revisions that were provided to the student at the defence. At this point the decision must be made as to whether to accept the revisions or not, and so we see the decision diamond “Accepted?”. If no, the flow goes back to the “Requires Major/Minor Revisions” status. If yes, it proceeds to the “Thesis Accepted” status. Going down from this status is another annotation showing the final forms that the student must complete before the thesis is electronically packaged and sent to the Library for publication. That’s why the next event we see is “Thesis is sent to the Library”, followed by the final status “Transferred to Library”. This is the end of the electronic thesis submission process.

Explaining this workflow to my stakeholders with the help of this State Transition Diagram that they could follow along with was much easier and was more meaningful than reading just a written explanation or explaining it verbally. It may not be a useful tool in all situations, but for workflows, I find it indispensable.

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