• 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 BPMN (15)


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


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.


Business Rules and Business Process Modeling Simplified

In BPMN 2.0 there is a shape for business rules:


 This shape denotes the place within the process model which calls business rules and obtains decision output.  The question is, how do you use it?

The difference between process and rules is simple; processes are stateful and rules are stateless. In BPMN a process has an explicit or implicit single start and one or more stops. In business rules there is no start or stop. It is an expression of a sequence of logical conditions.

Consider the figure below:


Simple Process with exclusive gateway, the process corresponds to the process: Start: When A Condition: Start Activity A When B Condition: start activity B, When either complete: Stop

This simple process uses the exclusive gateway to choose which activity to run. The activity, A or B, will run for an indeterminate time. When it is done the end is reached. A simple flow rule from Visual Rules is shown in Figure 2.  A flow rule is a graphical representation of a path of logic. There is no time element to the evaluation; either condition A or Condition B will be the outcome of the evaluation of the conditions in the two gateways-there is no time element to consider.


Figure 2: Simple decision graph with two exclusive outcomes, the diagram corresponds to the logic IF A condition Then A Outcome else If B Condition then B Outcome.

The two figures compare and contrast the similarities of BPMN and business rules. Both evaluate the logic conditions to decide which process activity or outcome to choose. The contrast is in the time element. This is what we mean when we stay the process is stateful and the decision graph is stateless.

If we connect the flow rule with the process then the process model looks like this:


This is simple, but most process decision are more complicated than that. I discuss process decisions in a white paper located here:


YouTube Short on Business Rules and BPMN

I have created a short video on the role of Business Rules and Business Process Management.

The video is linked to the graphic below:

You can also view the youTube video here.



Introducing the Process Modeling Foundation

Introducting the process modeling foundation (PMF).

A by result of years of working with BPMN process modeling, we have created the PMF as an outline for methods that progressively adapt to project needs. The PMF directs process model construction from the earliest strategy phase to the goal: execution. In short, there are no wasted efforts.

Modeling Maturity

In process modeling, your organization likely seeks improved performance and alignment or reengineered processes. More often, it is the decisions that need improvement. There are 5 layers of a BPMN process modeling framework (PMF). In the first layer, core processes activities and flows are modeled. In the next, key decisions are identified. Understanding arises with increasing and detailed process modeling. We encourage you to start process modeling by defining core business processes.

In your joint application design sessions (JAD), firms often do 'happy days' use case scenarios, business modeling or creating workflow diagrams in Visio, or combinations of all of these. These use cases (and business cases) haphazardly discover more (or less) information than defined in the PMF. Often, a use-case approach models too-many details of the processes. This is: from the core level through work flow scenario. This approach is often too ambitious and leads to erratic and unpredictable results. Processes steps are confused with business rules. There is a tendency to cling to old, batch oriented patterns. JAD Participants get bored and frustrated.

A 'happy-day path' only considers flows that occur when the process manages no exceptions. You can use this approach by focusing on activities, gateways and flows. So, someday your team should visit 'unhappy' branches. Converting the use case or work-flow into the formal needs of a business process model in BPMN can be difficult.

As your organizations become more sophisticated in BPM, you will create process models directly in business process modeling notation (BPMN). Beyond the core business process, these JAD sessions are mostly working on process and scenario modeling in the PMF. As your experience grows, your organization will probably split the use case scenario into these levels.

Business analysts should become process analysts that build executable processes with BPMN in the process modeling framework. Until then, you need an method to transform the use case or Visio diagrams into an accurate BPMN model of these workflows. You might convert existing use-cases into BPM. Also, you might move the organization into a BPMN modeling tool.

If digitizing a process is your goal, then moving a use case into a BPMN business process model prepares the way for model execution, moving a use case through the layers of the PMF.

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