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BPMN introduction

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Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a standard graphical representation for modeling business processes in a workflow format. BPMN was developed by Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI), and is currently maintained by the Object Management Group since the two organizations merged in 2005. The current version is 1.1 and there is a working proposal for version 2.0.

The primary goal of BPMN is to provide a standard notation that is readily understandable by all business stakeholders. These business stakeholders include the business analysts who create and refine the processes, the technical developers responsible for implementing the processes, and the business managers who monitor and manage the processes. Consequently, BPMN is intended to serve as common language to bridge the communication gap that frequently occurs between business process design and implementation.

In BPMN, the following categories of elements are defined:

Activities They represent the work done as part of a business process. They can be atomic (tasks) or combined (sub-processes).
Events An event is something that happens during the execution of a process, and they can catch or throw processes. For example, a process could be modeled to start when a certain condition is met or when a timer notifies that a certain time period has elapsed.
Gateways They allow forking or merging the flow of a process.
Swimlanes They allow subdividing a diagram in Pools (process containers) and Lanes (division of a pool in roles).
Artifacts They provide additional information on a process with the purpose of making it more self-contained.


In general, these categories are made up of various elements. The flow of a process is represented with flow routes (solid line connector), and the exchange of messages can also be specified (dotted line connector). In the following sections the various categories of elements will be analized. For each category, their corresponding elements will be studied and classified in basic (core) and advanced.


  • Book "BPMN: Modeling and Reference Guide" by Stephen A. White and Derek Miers
  • Wikipedia.org

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