Process Modeling Using BPMN



Most business and technical stakeholders are vividly aware that in order to come up with good solutions, we need to be able to describe, understand, and communicate our organizations' business processes. Yet, despite decades of flowcharting-talk and uncounted number of Visio diagrams, we are still struggling with this challenge. Without doubt, this is a major contributor to projects that fail to deliver (e.g., cancelled, over-scheduled, or over-budgeted products of poor quality or that have only a fraction of the required functionality or functionality that nobody uses).

In the last couple of years, more and more organizations have adopted a new standard: Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN). By now, a de facto standard for business process modeling, BPMN enables bridging the communication gap between business and technical people by providing an effective, efficient, and flexible way to capture, model, analyze, and design business processes in a way that is easily understood by all parties.

There are several reasons organizations make this transition to BPMN:

  • Simple notation: BPMN is easy to learn and easily understood by all stakeholders, on both the business and technical sides.
  • Flexible and rich expression: BPMN has three levels of modeling abstraction that allow describing simple/high-level processes (descriptive level), analysis and optimization (analytic level), and specifying complex processes for IT implementation and/or execution (execution level).
  • Unmatched capabilities: BPMN is the only business process notation capable to clearly represent a comprehensive view of the integration of processes with complex events, data objects flow, and/or business rules.
  • Can show both the whole picture and the details: BPMN allows progressively elaborating the high-level models into further details, in a hierarchical structure, without losing the relationships between different process components.
  • Efficiency/reuse: In BPMN, same models are used throughout the whole Solution/System Development Lifecycle (SDLC), with no need for copying models or (re)inventing the wheel each time one changes perspective on a process.
  • Widely adopted standard: Common notation (symbols) and rules (syntax) that enable clarity of communication and making sure processes are consistent and valid.
  • Standard accompanied by methodologies and best practices: An active BPMN community established and maintains a strong knowledgebase of methodologies and best practices.
  • Wide adoption by tool providers: Virtually all major vendors, commercial or open-source, have now adopted the BPMN standard.


  • Business analysts
  • Process analysts
  • Process owners
  • Process engineers
  • Business customers/end users
  • Product owners, project managers, end users
  • Testers
  • Anybody with a desire to understand, capture, analyze, design, and/or optimize processes

Learning Objectives

  • Bridge the communication gap between business and IT, by modeling processes that can be easily understood and communicated by all stakeholders
  • Enable process collaboration and accountability, by modeling processes at levels of abstraction/details most appropriate to each stakeholder's perspective
  • Create high-level (whole-picture) models that describe an organization's end-to-end processes
  • Design and optimize processes, by progressively elaborating high-level models (descriptive level) into hierarchical and more detailed process models (analytical level)
  • Capture/design complex process-events interactions
  • Capture/design processes that separate and integrate process activities and complex business rule definitions
  • Streamline process and requirements documentation by using the same notation and syntax to capture processes at all stages of the SDLC
  • Enhance knowledge management (creating, sharing, training, reuse, etc.) by eliminating the need to duplicate and/or translate process definitions
  • Increase productivity by enabling process engineers to elaborate Analytical models into Executable models (rather than starting from scratch each time)
  • Reduce analysis paralysis, by allowing teams and business/process analysts to focus on relevant aspects of the process (through hierarchical modeling and sub-process expansion, while maintaining overall process consistency/integrity)
  • Enable scope management and prioritization, by allowing process models that are selectively elaborated (based on which aspects of the process are more important)
  • Facilitate adoption/customization of BPM/BPMN/BPMS tools
  • Enable process simulations to validate and optimize business processes (e.g., process and cycle times, costs, and resource utilization)

1. Introduction and Core Concepts

  • Models and Modeling Goals
  • Processes/Process Types
  • Process Modeling
  • BPMN in Context: BPM and BPMS
  • Historical Background
  • Comparison with Alternative Modeling Methods

2. BPMN Notation and Element Types

  • BPMN Standard: Notation/Symbols, Syntax, and Semantics
  • Modeling Levels/Palettes: Descriptive, Analytical, Execution
  • Work-Performing Elements: Processes, Activities (Tasks/Sub-Tasks)
  • Work-Routing Elements: Sequence and Message Flow, Gateways
  • Work-Partitioning Elements: Pools and Lanes
  • Events
  • Data Objects
  • Artifacts

3. Descriptive Models (Level 1 Palette)

  • Purpose and Target Audience
  • Core Elements
  • Method and Style
  • Examples

4. Analytical Models (Level 2 Palette)

  • Purpose and Target Audience
  • Additional Elements
  • Method and Style
  • Examples

5. BPMN Practices

  • Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
  • Best Practices

6. Process Analysis and Design Using BPMN

  • BPMN Syntax Validation
  • BPMN Method and Style Validation
  • Tokens and Workflow Patterns
  • Optimizing Processes: Analysis and Design

7. Advanced Topics

  • Process Simulations
  • BPMN Processes and Business Rules/Decisions
  • Event Sub-Processes
  • Choreography Diagrams
  • Executable Models

8. BPM/BPMN Career and Resources

  • IIBA� and Process Modeling
  • OMG Certified Expert in BPM (OCEB)
  • Other Certifications
  • Resources

9. BPMN Tools

  • Whiteboards and Sticky-Notes,
  • Diagramming Tools vs. Modeling Tools
  • BPMN vs. BPMS
  • Commercial and Open-Source Tools

10. Case Study and Hands-On Exercises