Modelling Business Processes With Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN 2.0)

BPMN is a graphical notation for modelling business processes. It can be used to model complex business processes, which is why it is often preferred to the flowchart technique. This article discusses the elements of business process modelling with BPMN 2.0 and also sheds some light on the benefits of business process modelling.

As a general guide, there are usually 7+/- 2 core business processes in most companies, so there is no need to model all the processes in the organization. In some cases however, the goal may be to capture all the processes in the organization for documentation and knowledge transfer purposes. Once you have defined all the business processes you would like to analyze and optimise, it's time to put pen to paper and draw a business process model.

Here are some of the benefits of Business Process Modelling:

  1. Business Process Modelling helps to amplify understanding of how a procedure, process or system under review works.

  2. It helps to highlight key issues, concepts and problems faced by business users.

  3. It helps to facilitate effective analysis of the structure of the system and its problems for the purpose of remodelling how the system or procedure works.

  4. It can be used as a medium of communication between management and staff.

BPMN diagrams are similar to UML behaviour diagrams and the syntax rules facilitate clear process definition. With BPMN, take note of the following:

  1. Processes are contained within pools. Processes external to an organization should be represented using a pool different from that of the organization.

  2. Lanes are used to represent process participants carrying out their work.

  3. Events trigger and end processes and may also indicate variations based on occurrences during the process.

  4. Tasks denote units of work performed during the process.

  5. Process flows indicate the logic of flow from one participant to another.

  6. Gateways show decisions made in the process.

  7. Artefacts can be used to annotate processes and offer further clarification on what is happening in the process. They may also show what activities need to be performed or the handling & production of documents within the process.

  8. Message flows show interaction between organisations and are sent from one pool to another.

BPMN Symbols

Quick Tips For Modelling Business Processes

  1. Model processes end-to-end. For example, the sell process should start from when a customer places a request to when that request is fulfilled.

  2. Capture manual process steps that are not automated. This will help to provide the end-to-end view of the process.

  3. Examine the business events that trigger the processes, what occurs during the process and what happens at the end of the process.

  4. Avoid modelling system logic and focus on the business process instead.

Business process modelling may seem complex at first but does improve with time. One habit that can help to save time is drawing the model on a piece of paper before transferring it to the software tool. See A List of Free Business Process Modelling Software for software options to consider. Remember to keep the goal of modelling in mind at all times: to arrive at a clear and unambiguous process definition.

Picture Attribution: 3d Character Showing Process Or Procedure” by Stuart Miles/