A process instance represents a single occurrence of a service or production workflow, i.e. a process. An instance can be either open (in progress), or closed (finished) and it is a good practice of process management, that someone in particular should be accountable for it, whether it is a periodic or triggered process that is executed based on a particular input or condition.
Now, if you’re dumbfound, thinking what the hell is the author trying to reveal here, perhaps he should review his own creative process or better yet sign up for a creative writing course, so that he can free himself of this jargon. Ok, let’s try looking at this another way!
Imagine, that you have a process called Office Cleaning, which is made up of 25 sub steps and runs once a week on Friday or Saturday. Every single weekly cleaning is an instance of that process. Even if there is more than one person doing the cleaning, e.g. John on odd weeks and Eva on even ones, both are going through a roughly similar workflow, there is a record about it and they are accountable for the result, even if John is employed and Eva is working freelance.
A dutiful office manager who wants to be in control of this office cleaning process would certainly ask both John and Eva to fill in some type of form or record to confirm that they have finished the cleaning as expected. Such an record might be filled and stored in some process app such as Procesoid, or printed on a piece of paper as a checklist about what needs to be done: water the flowers, empty the waste bins, refill the paper in the printer, check the toner in the printers, vacuum the dust, refill the coffee capsules in the kitchen etc. John and Eva have to diligently complete all these steps and check them off on the instance record as finished.
In busy establishments, like the restrooms in a gas station or a shopping mall, this type of cleaning may be much more frequent and simpler — let’s say every two hours with 8 basic steps, from adding toilet paper to a quick check for cleanliness, and their successful execution is then confirmed by a single signature on a timesheet. (If you look around at walls, you may discover such a cleaning timesheet somewhere.) With very frequent processes such as this one the record of an instance might be brief, but the process itself should be described somewhere in detail, e.g. on a single-page job description, that will be used to train new people with the updated version hanging in the cleaning staff’s personnel room.