Business Process Modeling Notation

BusinessProcessModelingNotation (BPMN) is gaining favor as the ProcessModeling tool of choice, overtaking the use of IDEF3.

An introduction to this standard can be seen at http://www.bptrends.com/publicationfiles/03%2D04%20WP%20BPMN%20and%20BPM%20Owen%2DRaj%2Epdf.

The person credited with the development of BPMN is StephenWhite? from IbmCorporation; he has an example of using BPMN to model a BusinessProcessExecutionLanguage (BPEL) process at http://bpmn.org/Documents/Mapping%20BPMN%20to%20BPEL%20Example.pdf.

There are significant members of the IT community who view the arrival of BusinessProcessModelingNotation as signifying the end of (BPEL); see, for example, DavidChappell blog at http://www.davidchappell.com/blog/2006/06/standardizing-right-thing-bpmn-or-bpel. Others are not so sure; a comment sourced from 2006 paper at http://www.eclarus.com/pdf/BPMN_BPEL_Mapping.pdf said "it is technically challenging to rewrite arbitrary BPMN diagrams to be BPEL isomorphic" -> meaning "not practical".

Currently, users of BPMN are probably oversold in relying on the use of this tool to generate code for WorkFlow processes. Without the upfront data collection and applying the discipline required for code generation later on, it may well be better to start things from scratch. PleaseComment


Limits and Limitations

A starting attempt to list the remarks as they appear

Limits

Keith Harrison Broninski explained in his July06 article on the future of BusinessProcessManagement, that BPMN is not expected to excel in HumanInteractionManagement, where another approach called Role Activity Diagram is said to be more suited to work.

Limitations

Forgot where I saw it, but one of the readings claim unless done to a convention, BPMN mapping to implementable BPEL "takes a PHD to do it". Since BPMN is to be used in BusinessModeling, where mappers (using the TheMapIsNotTheTerritory metaphor) are not PhD scientists, and without proper funding for infrastructure (e.g. naming conventions), the various BPMN trailbrazers are going to be "all over the map".

One comment to DavidChappell blog basically said with BPEL he can define and execute. BPMN is (not like that).

"Subprocess limitation"

My BPMN instructor advised us to stay away from defining subprocess and it appears puzzling since the drawing tool has it. Recently I came across Bruce Silver blog claiming BPEL has not got the concept of subprocess. So maybe BPMN can have subprocess, if you do not want to implement later on. I understand the upcoming BPEL 2.0 will have subprocess. Meanwhile, I would not use BPMN for any top down modeling exercise.


How about UnwantedModelingLanguage

In comparison with the Activity diagrams (AD) in UmlTwo, it is probably not up to ObjectManagementGroup to decide which of the two alternatives will prevail. For users who do process modeling and have an extensive collection of UML class diagrams, UmlTwo is the better choice, due to tight integration. For users who start BusinessProcessManagement projects from a top-down business perspective, e.g. using ValueStreamMapping and the like, BusinessProcessModelingNotation is the way to go.


Hot off the press

There appear to be a large body of vendors and academia backing the use of BPMN. Since I am a proponent of BusinessDrivenDesign?, I have a natural affinity for TopDownDesign that can be implemented. So this July2006 blog expressing dis-ease on BPMN interest me. Read "More on BPMN" at http://itredux.com/blog/2006/07/23/more-on-bpmn/, and an early response "Does BPMN belong to BPEL" at http://www.brsilver.com/wordpress/2006/07/20/does-bpmn-belong-to-bpel/ to help your own decision-making.

I am having discussions of the applicability of BusinessProcessModelingNotation vs other ProcessModeling techniques. I am looking into the use of RoleActivityModeling? as an alternative to BPMN for BusinessProcessReengineering type initiatives, primarily due to the perceived increased ability to communicate roles/functions and their participation in functions/processes. However tool support for RAD is not easy to find, and that the BusinessProcessManagement team certainly want to restrict the dilution of expertise in the services they offer. Anyone who has more to offer please see question posted in RoleModeling page.
Contrary Opinion on BPMN

... BPMN does not process a mathematical or logical basis
Resources

Free BPMN Visio template at http://sourceforge.net/projects/bpmnpop/
BusinessProcessModeling

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