Learning BPMN Lesson 3: What are the objects in BPMN?

The BPMN spec contains way over 100 different object types that can be used in the different model types. There are special rules about how to use them, which I will explain in later lessons. This article contains an overview of the available objects.

BPMN Objects Overview

Depending on your use case and point of view, the amount of available object in the different BPMN models might be a blessing or a course. Most likely business people will shy away from the notation and might see it as “too complex”, while technical folks who want to implement a workflow system might welcome the possibilities to express even complex situations in a (relatively) simple way.
However, there is a thin line – due to the openness of the specification in the object definition, as well as the modeling style that allows to express the same thing in multiple ways – for Enterprise Architects who want to standardize on BPMN for the process layer to walk on, since some mappings are not possible or can be only achieved with workarounds.

bpmn-poster

(BPMN 2.0 poster created by the BPM Initiative Berlin; downloadable at http://bpmb.de/poster)

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Learning BPMN Lesson 2: Which models are included in BPMN?

Learning BPMN Lesson 2: Which models are included in BPMN?

BPMN is not one specific model type -like an Event-driven Process Chain- but is a collection of multiple model types that are connected to each other. This article will show the available model types in the BPMN 2.0 specification and how these are supported in ARIS (as of ARIS 7.1 SR9).

BPMN model types

The BPMN 2.0 specification contains some changes compared to the 1.x specification (shown in the graphic below):

  • the BPMN process diagram was divided into two model types – the BPMN Process and the BPMN Collaboration Diagrams
  • the new Choreography Diagram, and
  • the new Conversation Diagram.

learning_bpmn_2-1

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Learning BPMN Lesson 1: What is BPMN?

BPMN, which stands for Business Process Model and Notation, is a standard for creating process models and was created in the first decade of the 21st century by a consortium of industry-leading companies such as SAP, Oracle or IDS Scheer. The standard is currently managed by the Object Management Group (OMG) and the latest version of the standard (2.0) is in its final review phases to be published later this year/in early 2011.

When you follow the discussion in the blogosphere about this standard nowadays, it seems that BPMN is the cure for all diseases that the other competing standards seem to have, most notably the Value-Added Chain Diagramming (with its flavor of Value Stream Mapping), EPC (Event Driven Process Chain), SIPOC (Supplier Input Process Output Customer; a popular 6 Sigma model), IDEF (Integration DEFinition), or UML (Unified Modeling Language, also a standard maintained by OMG) and others. In addition to that – if you believe the hype around the notation that is published by pure-BPMN start-ups, BPM Suite vendors, training providers and others – it also allows you to seamlessly exchange models between different modeling tools and execute (read: orchestrate a work flow) in different BPM Suites without the need to modify anything in a process model or to write code. A beautiful world, isn’t it?

Unfortunately that is not the reality and -IMHO- will not be the reality in the near future. It is time to have a deeper look into the BPMN standard and what it aims to be and how this will be realized in a modeling and execution environment using Software AG’s ARIS and webMethods stack.

This is the first article of a loose series that covers the scope of BPMN and its history, the different elements of the notation and how to use them, as well as a short look at how this is implemented in ARIS and is used in a ”Model to Execution” scenario. This series it complimentary to other articles on ARIS Community, most notably Sascha Schneider‘s excellent posts and screencasts about the BPMN 2.0 implementation in ARIS 7.1.

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