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BPMN Notation and Example

By March 6, 2022No Comments
BPMN Notation and Example

In BPMN the processes are illustrated using diagrams that are accompanied by a number that of visual elements. This visual representation helps users to comprehend the structure of a procedure.

BPMN was designed to help designers and readers read simple and complicated visual representations of the business process. In order to do that it is the BPMN standard categorizes graphic elements in categories. As a result it is easy for the elements to be identified by those who use diagrams of business processes.

Basic Constructs

There are five fundamental types in BPMN elements. Each represents an individual aspect of the business processes.



Swimlanes are graphical containers that represent participants of a process. There are two types of swimlanes – pools and lanes.

Elements Flow

Flow elements are elements that connect with each other to form business workflows. Flow elements are the primary elements that define the behavior of a process. There are three kinds of flow elements: Events, Activities and Gateways.

Connecting objects

Flow objects are not isolated, but rather connected in order to form a flow. The connectors that connect the flow objects are called connecting objects. There are four kinds of connecting objects: Sequence flows, message flows, associations and data associations.


Data is mainly information needed or produced when executing a business process. There are four kinds of data: Data objects, data inputs, data outputs and data stores.

BPMN Swimlanes

Swimlane objects (aka: Swimlanes) in BPMN are rectangular boxes which represent participants of an enterprise process. The swimlane can contain flow objects which are used by the lane (participant) with the exception of a the black box which must have the empty space (we will discuss the black boxes in the course of this guide). The swimlanes can be laid out either vertically or horizontally. They’re semantically identical however they differ in their representation. In horizontal swimlanes, the process flow is in a straight line from right to left however, processes in vertical swimlanes flows from the top to the bottom. Examples of swimlanes are Customer, Account Department, Payment Gateway and Development Team.

There are two types of swimming lanes: Pools and Lanes.


They represent the participants of an enterprise process. It could be a particular person or entity (e.g. department) or a particular role (e.g. assistant manager, doctor, student, vendor).

Within a pool flows elements. They are the work that the pool must accomplish under the procedure being modelled. But, there is a type of pool that has no content whatsoever. It is referred to as the “blackbox” pool. The Blackbox pool is usually utilized when modeling entities that are not related in the context of the company process. Because it is an external process it’s internal flow has no impact on the model process and therefore can be ignored and create an unrepresentative blackbox. This BPD (business process diagram) provides an example of a pool of blackboxes. Customer is the blackbox. Since the process is focused on how the chef cooks food and the way that the customer interacts isn’t in the process’s interest. The usage of blackbox is contingent on the viewpoint the process is viewed from. If you have to represent the procedure by which customers place an order, the process of the customer will be modelled and the Chef pool will be made as a blackbox.


Lanes are the sub-partitions of pools. For instance, if you run a pool department and you have department General Clerk and Head of the Department as lanes. Like pools, you can also use lanes to represent particular people or entities that are part of the process.

In a pool, there is a flow element. They are the work that the pool must complete under the process being modelled. But, there is a type of pool with none of the content. It is known as a blackbox pool. The blackbox pool is typically employed when modeling entities which are external from the process. Because it is external it’s internal flow doesn’t have any effect on the process being modelled thus it is able to be left out, creating an unrepresentative blackbox. This BPD (business process diagram) will give you an example of a pool of blackboxes. Customer is an example of a blackbox. Since the process is focused on how the chef cooks food and the way that the customer interacts isn’t in the process’s interest. The usage of blackbox is contingent on the view that the process is viewed from. If you are required to represent the method by which the customer makes an order, then the flow of the Customer’s journey will be represented which makes the Chef pool an blackbox.

Lanes can be a part of other lanes in order to create an encasement structure if needed. But, BPMN helps you primarily by modeling business processes. Do not attempt to construct the nested lanes solely to represent structures of your business. If you are looking to depict the structure of your company then use the organizational chart instead.


Activities are the tasks which are carried out within an organization’s process. They are depicted as rounded-rectangles and are accompanied by names that explain the tasks to be performed.

There are two kinds of tasks that are called task and sub-process. If we need to model an atomic process which is not further broken down or does not make sense We use task.

On the other hand, when we want to model a non-atomic, complex work that can be elaborated into smaller works, we use a sub-process. A sub-process can be broken down into another level of details. For this reason, a sub-process usually contains another BPD modeling its details.

Note that the selection of task or sub-process is not just about how complex a work can be but also about how detailed you need to know about the work. If you are a customer, you probably don’t want to know how your payment is being processed. However, if you are the shop, how to process customer’s payment becomes important.


They are events that occur and could have an impact on business processes. A business event could be internal or external. Insofar as they affect the model being created it is recommended to model them. Events are displayed in circles. In certain instances there are icons inside the circles that represent the nature of the event that triggers it.

There are three kinds of event: the Start Event Intermediate Event, and End Event. Triggers can be identified for each one to specify under which conditions the event will be trigger.

Every process must be initiated with a start-up event to mark the start of the business process. It allows users to identify the process in BPD where the process began. Additionally, the end event can be used to show when the process has completed. An intermediate events are responsible for driving the flow of business according to the event that it describes. Intermediate events can be linked to an activity in order to model an event that could occur in the course of the process. It can also be linked to connecting objects to model an event that occurs following that flow event has been completed prior to. We will go into more details later in this tutorial.

Have a look at the following illustration. It will give you suggestions on how events function. The diagram basically states that when we receive orders, we start processing it. In the event that and only in cases where is no credit limit left and we are able to identify the issue. The order is processed when it is completed or the issue is identified.


Gateways control how business processes flow. They are depicted by the shape of diamonds. When a process is in progress that involves work, the amount of work and the result may differ in response to different external and internal circumstances. For instance, a discount can only be given to VIP buyers, but not to everyone else. Gateway is where the conditions are analyzed and a final decision is taken.

Here are some of the most common kinds of gateways:

Data-Based Exclusive Gateway also referred to exclusive gateway, is used to regulate flow of process by relying on specific process data. Each flow that is linked to the gateway is an event. The flow that is satisfied is then traversed. Only one flow is traversed.


Inclusive Gateway is utilized to create parallel pathways. The conditions of every outgoing flows are evaluated. Any flow that has a positive result are processed. This could cause multiple flows to be executed when multiple conditions are met.

Parallel Gateway is used to simulate how to execute parallel flow without having to check any condition. That is every flow that is outgoing are executed simultaneously.

Event-Based Gateway can be used to simulate alternative routes built on events. For instance, if you want to wait for someone’s response, whether Yes or No are required to decide which path to follow. The gateway is then followed by two interconnected intermediate events, each with a message trigger which are one for a the message Yes and the other for No. If any of these events occurs by the sequence that follows the event will be followed. All other events, and their corresponding flow will cease to be in effect.

Sequence The Flows

The sequence flow can be used as a way to link flow elements. It is illustrated in a the form of a solid line, with an Arrowhead. It illustrates the order of the flow elements.

You can only use sequence flow to connect flow elements within the same pool: either within the same pool/lane, or across lanes in the same pool. If you want to connect elements across pools, you cannot use sequence flow but message flow instead.

Message is Flows

In BPMN the communication between pools is accomplished through the use of messages. The concept of message flow can be used display that messages are flowing between pool, or to show the flow components between pool. The flow of messages is displayed in a dotted line and accompanied by an Arrow head. Examples of messages that are transferred between pools include such as fax, phone or email, letter and notice.

You can only use sequence flow to connect flow elements within the same pool: either within the same pool/lane, or across lanes in the same pool. If you want to connect elements across pools, you cannot use sequence flow but message flow instead.


When executing the business procedure, there will be data generated, either at or after the completion of the procedure. For instance, a successful completion of the Place Order task will produce information such as purchase order and receipt, invoice and more. In BPMN the data is modelled by various types of data objects, such as data objects that are Data inputs, outputs, and data stores. There is a clearly defined way to control the state of data such as initialization, completed, deleted and so on.


The term “group” refers to a rectangular box with a border of dotted lines, giving modelers a way to classify shapes into various types.

Text Annotations

Text annotations is a way to add additional information to the flow objects within BPD. BPD. It doesn’t alter the flow, but it provides details about the objects in the flow.

BPMN A Case Study

The True Aqua Distilled Water Company is a new distillate water provider located in the city. They offer distilled water to commercial and home usage. Today, the True Aqua Distilled Water Company is looking to increase the market’s share of five percent to 10 percent over about 12-18 months. To accomplish this goal They are working to figure out ways to improve operational efficiency as well as to provide a greater levels of customer satisfaction.

In the end, the True Aqua Distilled Water Company is deciding to improve their process of ordering distilled water. You are now an analyst in business who is accountable for this task. After a meeting at length with True Aqua Distilled Water Company You’ve gathered the following details about the process of ordering. Let’s have a look.

The following figure is the Business Process Diagram of the distilled water delivery process for the True Aqua Distilled Water Company.

As per the diagram, customers can call our ordering hotline or send us an Email to place an order for the distilled water. At present, 90% of orders come via telephone calls, and 10% of the orders are placed through Email. The customer service agent who is receiving the order will determine if the customer is a previous customer or is a new one. When a customer is new and has not made an order previously the assistant at customer service will set up an account for him or before taking the order.

The delivery of distillate water is made each week on Wednesday. Therefore, every Wednesday morning the customer service agent will forward the orders for delivery to the Logistics Department for delivery. When the manager from the Logistics Department has received the orders, he’ll arrange the delivery, assigning workers to handle different orders, printing and putting up the schedule. Workers will receive the messages and will deliver the water to the customer in accordance with the schedule.