Business Process Modeling

Many business processes consist of several tasks which involve interactions between a number of people, departments and data.

When the process is documented the process can be more easily optimised to cater for new technologies and process refinement, the process is repeatable and training of new staff is easier.

Business process modelling is a technique to visualise a business process.

Over the years several techniques have evolved and include flowcharts, UML (Unified Modelling Language) amongst others.

A recent method is using Business Process Modelling and Notation (BPMN 2.0) which consists of standard symbols to visually describe tasks and workflows.

BPMN Symbols include

  • tasks – something to be done
  • events – triggers an action to begin
  • gateways – determines the route thru the workflow
  • lanes – identifies who is responsible for executing each task where who represents an individual, group or department. A lane can be white-box (shows task details) or black-box (no task details shown)

Creating BPMN 2.0 Diagrams

Many modelling tools are available with support for BPMN 2.0 symbols although many are general purpose tools and might not be as easy to use as dedicated BPMN tools.

The following are some of the vendors that offer free versions. Diagrams can be created via the vendors website or by downloading a desktop app locally.

Summary

BPMN diagrams can be helpful in documenting processes and clearly show the flow and responsibility for executing each task. They can also show Data objects etc.

The diagram can include additional information by decorating most symbol types using annotations.

Want to know more about modelling with BPMN 2.0?

See the following links which contain useful information and videos