Most business and technical stakeholders are vividly aware that in order to come
up with good solutions, we need to be able to describe, understand, and communicate
our organizations' business processes. Yet, despite decades of flowcharting-talk
and uncounted number of Visio diagrams, we are still struggling with this challenge.
Without doubt, this is a major contributor to projects that fail to deliver (e.g.,
cancelled, over-scheduled, or over-budgeted products of poor quality or that have
only a fraction of the required functionality or functionality that nobody uses).
In the last couple of years, more and more organizations have adopted a new standard:
Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN). By now, a de facto standard for business
process modeling, BPMN enables bridging the communication gap between business and
technical people by providing an effective, efficient, and flexible way to capture,
model, analyze, and design business processes in a way that is easily understood
by all parties.
There are several reasons organizations make this transition to BPMN:
- Simple notation: BPMN is easy to learn and easily understood
by all stakeholders, on both the business and technical sides.
- Flexible and rich expression: BPMN has three levels of
modeling abstraction that allow describing simple/high-level processes (descriptive
level), analysis and optimization (analytic level), and specifying complex processes
for IT implementation and/or execution (execution level).
- Unmatched capabilities: BPMN is the only business process
notation capable to clearly represent a comprehensive view of the integration
of processes with complex events, data objects flow, and/or business rules.
- Can show both the whole picture and the details: BPMN allows
progressively elaborating the high-level models into further details, in a hierarchical
structure, without losing the relationships between different process components.
- Efficiency/reuse: In BPMN, same models are used throughout
the whole Solution/System Development Lifecycle (SDLC), with no need for copying
models or (re)inventing the wheel each time one changes perspective on a process.
- Widely adopted standard: Common notation (symbols) and
rules (syntax) that enable clarity of communication and making sure processes
are consistent and valid.
- Standard accompanied by methodologies and best practices:
An active BPMN community established and maintains a strong knowledgebase
of methodologies and best practices.
- Wide adoption by tool providers: Virtually all major vendors,
commercial or open-source, have now adopted the BPMN standard.