Process Modeling:

Complexity is just a combination of simple things


Business Process Management (BPM):

How you manage complexity in a simple way

Archive for December, 2009

Highlights from BPMN 2.0: New Event Types

What’s new in BPMN 2.0: Part 5

Continuing coverage of the BPMN 2.0 specification, this post will focus on the new event types.   Prior to 2.0, BPMN had several problems when it came to escalating events and dealing with events in parallel.  Often I would end up using a pattern with multiple loops inside of loops to accomplish seemingly simple activities. Furthermore, it was difficult to distinguish between human centric and system centric activity for a mixed-mode diagram that includes both.

One goal of BPMN is to bring the SOA camp, the business analysts,  and the process modeling communities closer together.  A side effect of this has been that BPMN is very messaging intensive. For complex interactions, multiple pools are used, which requires lots of messaging lines to keep activity in sync between participants .  This is sometimes a problem for people who come from a flowchart/workflow backround using tools such as Visio, which essentially allows you to create a really bad BPMN diagram due to the lack of diagram validation.  Often I see messaging lines within a pool going between lanes, when what was really intended is to do a simple escalation.  Antoher common problem prior to BPMN 2.0 is showing enough detail without having to show the intricate patterns of looping and dealing with multiple events in parallel.

We are starting to see a shift from multiple pools and lanes to more of a style based on a single pool with no lanes, which means less explicit messaging notation. On the other hand, we are starting to see more capability in BPMN to document highly technical processes for the SOA community.

New Event Types

In this post I will cover the new BPMN escalation event and parallel multiple event. Read more »

IBM makes a consolidation move with Lombardi

This week IBM announced that they area acquiring Lombardi Software.   I suspect this will be the first of several industry consolidations in the coming months. The market is heating up in the BPM space, and it’s only natural that the major players are jockeying for position.  I wonder who’s next?   And I wonder how well my former colleagues at Lombardi are making out on those stock options (I parted ways with Lombardi in 2006).

Your thoughts?

I’m curious to see what some of you other BPM professionals think about this acquisition, and if anyone has any predictions for more consolidations.  Comments welcome.

Highlights from BPMN 2.0: Non-Interrupting Events

What’s new in BPMN 2.0, part 4.

BPMN 2.0 adds a lot of new concepts.  Many of these are long overdue to be added to the spec.  Others are a totally new concept.  In this post we are going to take a look at one of the long-overdue fixes to the BPMN specification; the intermediate events on the subprocess border.

In previous versions of BPMN, placing an event on the subprocess border meant that when the event was triggered, the exceptional flow would become active.  Also, this means that normal flow stops.  In the diagram below, subprocess A ceases when the timer event is triggered.  Instead, the “handle timeout” subprocess is active at that point.  In other words, subprocess A has been interrupted.

Intermediate Interrupting Event

Intermediate Interrupting Event

There is another use case that BPMN 1.2 did not cover.  What if the timer event isn’t supposed to interrupt subprocess A?   Just to clarify, in the BPMN 2.0 specification, Interrupt means that the parent subprocess will end.  This is similar to a cancel, but cancellation is another concept and another shape entirely.  So it’s called interruption.  There is another use case for non-interrupting events that has long been a challenge prior to 2.0.

Read more »