• The MicroGuide to Process and Decision Modeling in BPMN/DMN: Building More Effective Processes by Integrating Process Modeling with Decision Modeling
    The MicroGuide to Process and Decision Modeling in BPMN/DMN: Building More Effective Processes by Integrating Process Modeling with Decision Modeling

Entries in BPM (9)


Second Edition Microguide Process Modeling in BPMN Released

I would like to announce the availability of second edition of the ‘Microguide to BPMN 2.0’. Of the many books available on BPMN, this is to first to enter its second edition in a new and enhanced form.  

Amazon Page

A new era for process modeling has arisen and in our second edition, we continue with the most concise coverage of BPMN available. We cover more ‘real-life’ business scenarios and model more unstructured, monitored and indefinite activities in BPM. The text not only corporates new metaphors of events and decision-directed event processing, it also covers 15 different BPM design patterns, forged in the furnace of practical, state-of-the-art process modeling, that provide a shortcut to a proven design. The material in this comprehensive, focused book has been gleaned from actual practices and proven in many of the most advanced processes in production today.

In concise language, we explain how to build visible, agile and powerful process that meet the needs of a chaotic and globally federated environment. It truly is an essential resource on the practical application of event, decision and process modeling.

This is my forth book project, and a few years ago I wrote some words of wisdom on the topic of book writing. If you are thinking about writing a book you might read them here.

Over the next months I intend to focus on BPM and BPMN on this Blog.

The book is available from amazon at

- Tom Debevoise


Business Rules Usage Patterns

Dr.  Ketabchi, from Savvion, believes there are seven process usage patterns. These are 

  1. Human Centric
  2. Document Centric
  3. System Centric
  4. Decision Centric
  5. Case Management
  6. Project Centric
  7. Event Centric     

There is an eighth one, the 'shadowing' process. This is a process for monitoring 'legacy' processes. Dr. Ketabchi A description of each of these processes can be found in this BPM Institute recorded webinar.

As the BPM Industry matures, these patterns will emerge. We know from design patterns, that best practices can emerge from the wisdom of experience. 

I believe there are some distinct business rules usage patterns. I list these here:

Usage Pattern Center

Typical Legacy Sources



Computations and Score Carding

Spread Sheets, Desktop Databases and Scripting

Credit Risk, Security Targeting

Generally Computes one or more metrics. Often one or more decision tables serve as the final arbitrator

Hierarchical or Hierarchical Graphs 

Database and Scripting Languages, Cobol

Insurance, Social Benefits or Entitlements 

Seeking a number of nodes in a large graph of options and factors. Logic can be deeply nested and the graph can be imperfect

Pattern Matching

The Gamut of Source Code (C++, Fortran, Basic, C#)

Fraud Detection, Market Abuse, Security

Often applies multi-variant or fuzzy logic 

Algorithmic Decisions


Source Code


Derivatives,  Hedging, Environmental Modeling

Focusing on Applied Numerical Methods, Regression Techniques and Statistics

Event Directors


Sensor-Based Controls

Uses within event processing applications


 - Tom Debevoise


Business Process Management, Remember the Basics

As Sandy Kimsley pointed out in her links, Ken Swensen responded to the question, is BPM Dead? In all of our discussions of technology, business processes, business rules, business events, it is easy to lose focus on the basic worth of business process management.

Therefore, it is useful to review the differences between function- and process-orientation within organizations. Most organizations, that use BPM, intend to become process-centric. Organizations with a robust process focus are distinguished by having a extensive, cultural process orientation. Big, complex organizations consider the process focus as extremely important, and this system is particularly common in insurance, healthcare, and financial services. A functional organization orientation, on the other hand, is more prevalent in small enterprises and is well-suited to the way they handle business.

A functional organization is an organization that delivers a strong capability in a limited number of functions. These might include highly specialized product and skills where knowledge or availability is limited. Obviously, a functional focus works for them.

Each focus,functional versus process-centric has advantages and disadvantages. In his admirable work on business process management, James Chang created the table below that summarizes the differences between organizations adopting each focus. A functional organization allows an easier balance of work among workers with functional excellence because they all have similar skills. This organizational style outlines natural, comprehensible ways that each task should be performed and assigns this to the appropriate proponent.


Functional Organization

Process Organization

Work Unit:



Key Figure: 

Functional Executive 

Process Owner 





Functional excellence,

Easier work balancing because workers have similar skills,

Clear management direction on how work should be performed

Responsive to market requirements,

Improved communication and collaboration between different  functional tasks,

Performance measurements aligned with process goals


Barrier to communication between different functions,

Poor handover between functions that affects customer service,

Lack of end-to-end focus to optimize organizational performance

Duplication of functional expertise,

Inconsistency of functional performance between processes,

Increased operational complexity

Strategic Value:

Supports cost leadership strategy

Supports differentiation strategy


Work Management:

 Functional Quality Focus

Cross Functional Coordination

Table 1 Benefits and Drawbacks of the Functional Versus Process orientation in organizations (Business Process Management Systems, Chang).

Conversely, a process organization enjoys improved communication and collaboration and may therefore be highly responsive to market requirements. Further, performance is easily measured across the process organization, as it is stated in terms of process goals. However, process organizations suffer from lack of or poorer quality communication between the different functions relative to their functional counterparts. There is reduced end-to-end focus, as opposed to the functional structure. Moreover, there may be considerable duplication of functional expertise, inconsistent functional performance between processes, and increased operational complexity. This may make the structure of the process-based organization redundant and bulky.

- Tom Debevoise


BPMN in Visio 2010

I have been looking at Microsoft Visio 2010 and I would recommend it to anyone seeking a simple process modeling requirements tool. Ultimately, when your 'requirements' phase in process modeling is complete, the business analysts must move away from Visio and into the business process management suite.

There are many, many users of Visio who are 'process focused'. Moreover, there has been a significant investment in process modeling using Visio. When teams, who have not used an execution-oriented framework such as PMF, move these models into execution there will be issues. Visio 2010 Premium will help a bit by doing a very competent job at supporting early (learning and requirements) efforts in process modeling. The 'check diagram' function checks the proper syntax of the BPMN shapes. For instance in the diagram below, there are two errors: a message is flowing the wrong way and there is a 'hanging' activity.

Wrong Wrong

After you correct the issues the errors disappear.


Casewise, Orbis and others provide Visio 'bridges'.  Yet, all these will change when other vendors will seek to capitalize on Visio 2010's new BPMN features. This tool also supports moving process onto SharePoint 2010. Overall, I commend the Microsoft Visio BPMN team for their efforts.

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