I am designing a system that tracks a complicated workflow. Each step of the workflow has a different person assigned to take an action. What is a succinct term I could use to describe the person who is responsible for the currently active step?

I considered "owner", but that more accurately describes the person who initiated the instance of the workflow. The ball is in this person's court. Who is he?

  • Around here we call it the "stuckee".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 26, 2015 at 19:56
  • The answers to this question may be useful...english.stackexchange.com/questions/117734/… Jan 26, 2015 at 20:01
  • 1
    That link was helpful. A few of the terms, such as "at bat", describe the situation well for me. However, since this is not a game, I don't feel that a gaming term is appropriate. Absent of a better answer, I may go with "initiative".
    – egbrad
    Jan 26, 2015 at 20:21
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    In our in-house IT ticketing system, we use "assignee". Jan 26, 2015 at 20:40

2 Answers 2


I would generally describe any facet of a workflow that performs an action an 'actor', be it a person, or some automated part of the process.

ac·tor ˈaktər noun

a participant in an action or process. "employers are key actors within industrial relations"

You might say 'current actor' or something similar if you are trying to convey the fact that this is the actor who's input is pending.

  • @idor_brad, notice that you wrote, "...the person who is responsible for the currently active step." (emphasis added.) In your program, if you plan to describe the current step as the "active" step, then Dave Magner is doubly correct: actor is the parallel word to describe the person most closely related to the active step. If you plan to use a different word for the current step, then it is possible you will want a different word for the person. Jan 26, 2015 at 21:20
  • I'm probably overanalyzing this, but if a process is waiting on a person to participate, but they are not necessarily participating, are they still a "participant"? In other words, if a document is in my inbox awaiting my signature, am I the "actor" in the process although I haven't opened my mail yet?
    – egbrad
    Jan 28, 2015 at 21:34

I would use executor

2.0 A person who produces something or puts something into effect:

This follows after the dominant usage: the person assigned to execute the final will of a person who has died.

If the connotation of death makes executor objectionable, then agent (2), operative, operator (2) or assignee (2) might work.

  • _1 for agent.
    – Good A.M.
    Jan 27, 2015 at 0:05

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