What is BPMN? – A guide to the Business Process Modelling Notation

Business Process Modelling Notation

Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) is a methodology for business process modelling. It supports the specification of business processes in a graphical notation (Business Process Diagram) based on the concept of activity diagrams from the Unified Modelling Language (UML).

The aim of BPMN is to provide a standard notation that can be understood by all business stakeholders in a business, including both technical and business users, yet in a form that is able to represent complex process semantics. Business stakeholders include the business analysts who develop and update the processes, the developers responsible for the technical implementation of the processes, and the business managers who monitor and manage the processes.

BPMN strives to bridge the gap that frequently occurs between business process design and implementation by means of a common language familiar to both but limited to modelling related to business processes only. As such, modelling areas not covered by BPMN include Organisational Structures, Functional Breakdowns and Data Models.

A standard Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) provides businesses with the capability of understanding their internal business procedures in a graphical notation and will give organizations the ability to communicate these procedures in a standard manner. Furthermore, the graphical notation will facilitate the understanding of the performance collaborations and business transactions between the organizations. This will ensure that businesses will understand themselves and participants in their business and will enable organizations to adjust to new internal and B2B business circumstances quickly.

BPMN contains diagrams with graphical elements. The four elements are as follows:

  • BPMN Flow Objects
    • Events, Activities, Gateways
  • BPMN Connecting Objects
    • Sequence Flow, Message Flow, Association
  • BPMN Swimlanes
    • Pool, Lane
  • BPMN Artifacts
    • Data Object, Group, Annotation

These are combined to produce a business process diagram (BPD) as shown below:

Business Process Diagram

To understand how to implement BPMN and produce Business Process Diagrams using BPMN, book a seat on our Business Process Modelling using BPMN and Enterprise Architect training course or the Business Process Modelling using BPMN 2.0 training course or download our technical article “Changing the Appearence of BPMN Elements“.