Analysis of Most Common Process Modelling Mistakes in BPMN Process Models

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Analysis of Most Common Process Modelling Mistakes in BPMN Process Models

  1. 1. 1 Analysis of Most Common Process Modelling Mistakes in BPMN Process Models dr. Tomislav Rozman, Gregor Polančič, doc. dr. Romana Vajde Horvat 26. – 28. September 2007 Potsdam, Germany Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Maribor, Slovenia Institute of Informatics
  2. 2. 2 Contents of the article Introduction  What is Business Process Management & Modelling  A little bit of history  Similar work Research method Findings – process model antipatterns Conclusions Discussion
  3. 3. 3 What is Business Process management? ... a field of knowledge at the intersection between management and information technology, encompassing methods, techniques and tools to design, enact, control, and analyze operational business processes involving humans, organizations, applications, documents and other sources of information1 or ...most overused word in the last few years? 1 van der Aalst, W.M.P., ter Hofstede, A.H.M. and Weske, M.: "Business Process Management: A Survey", in Business Process Management, Proceedings of the First International Conference. Springer Verlag, 2003.
  4. 4. 4 Business process management / business process lifecycle Preparation + BP Modelling + BP Assessment + BP Dissemination + Report a 'lesson learned' Compare and align with business goal BP Implementation + no yes is responsible for is responsible for Defined process needed are responsible for is responsible for is responsible for is responsible for is responsible for is responsible for is responsible for collaborate Quality Manager Process Performers Process Designer Quality Manager IT Expert Process Owner Process Owner Process Performers Process Owner Automate the process? BP Usage BP tracking & analysing BP not needed anymore BP tailoring needed Performing BP
  5. 5. 5 What is (Business) Process modelling? Better: Discrete process modelling Goal: to capture the knowledge how people (machines) perform their work (or, how we would like them to perform it) Main purpose: to ensure at least repeatability of organisation's processes Plethora of methods, methodologies, notations,… ... but no silver bullet
  6. 6. 6 ... Some process modelling notations EPC, ARIS, UML Activity diagrams, OPM – Object Process Methodology, BPMN – Business Process Modelling notation Ontologically most complete (Recker et al, 2005)
  7. 7. 7 BPMN notation Visual representation of (business) processes - workflow It defines graphical symbols and additional attributes for process description Covers the process modelling concepts and patterns very well Easy to learn Based on: EPC, Petri nets, Activity diagrams (UML) Defines the mapping to execution languages (XPDL, BPEL4WS) Merging with UML?
  8. 8. 8 A quick introduction to BPMN notation (1/2) name name name ~ name ~ name name name Sequence Message flow Association name, condition, code or message name or message Atomic activity - task Looping activity Ad-hoc process Looping ad-hoc process Process (hidden details) Looping process (hidden details) Process with details Branching (parallel execution) A B C D Data-based OR-decision A B C D condition 1 condition 2 default Event-based OR-decision A B C D 1 day mssage 1 message 2 Merging A B C D
  9. 9. 9 A quick introduction to BPMN notation (2/2) name or source name or type name or result Start event End event Intermediate event Message Timer Process error Compensate Rule Link Multiple mesage Pool name mesage message  events gateways  pools and messages
  10. 10. 10 A little bit of history BPMN notation has been taught since 2001 (University of Maribor, Faculty of electrical engineering and computer science) BSc. Students of Information Systems, 8th semester “Information processing organization and management” practical lectures The aim: (business) processes modeling, software standards, software projects organisation The modeling tool: Modified Microsoft Visio (‘’in-house’ symbols stencil)
  11. 11. 11 Similar work Project ‘anti-pattern’  = a pitfall, or, set of classes of commonly- reinvented bad solutions to problems  = commonly repeated bad practices workflow patterns  control flow patterns, resource patterns, data patterns and exception handling patterns
  12. 12. 12 The problem BPMN does not prevent us to design bad process models, including syntactical, semantic and pragmatically errors. Poor quality of process models can cause poor quality software requirements resulting in a poor information system.
  13. 13. 13 Research method Research question: What are the most common mistakes when modelling business process diagrams using BPMN notation? a multiple case study research Analysis of the process models (designed by students) from 2002 to 2007 by three independent persons Extraction & classification of most common mistakes -> process anti-pattern Syntactical, semantic and pragmatic mistakes
  14. 14. 14 Findings A set of 15 proces model anti-patterns  Connecting elements (1-9)  Other mistakes (9-15) Description of the antipatterns:  Name,  Possible practical impacts,  Type of error,  Proposed solution.
  15. 15. 15 Pattern 1. Activities in one pool are not connected PoolAPoolB Task C Task D Task A Task B ... ... ... ... Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Activities in one pool are not connected PoolAPoolB Task C Task D Task A Task B ... ... ... ... Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  16. 16. 16 Pattern 2. Process does not contain a start eventPoolA Task A Task B ... Message Event Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Process does not contain a start event PoolA Task A Task B ... Message Event Start Event Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  17. 17. 17 Pattern 3. Process does not contain an end event PoolA Task A Task B... Task C Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Process does not contain an end event PoolA Task A Task B... Task C End event Terminate Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  18. 18. 18 Pattern 4. Sequence flow crosses process boundary Process X Task A Task B... ... Task C Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Sequence flow crosses process boundary Process X Task A Task B ... ... Task C Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  19. 19. 19 Pattern 5. Sequence flow crosses pool boundary PoolA Task A Task C PoolB Task B Task D Message flow AB Message flow DC Task E Task F ... ... End event Start Event Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Sequence flow crosses pool boundary PoolA Task A Task C PoolB Task B Task D Message flow AB Message flow DC Task E Task F Message flow EF ...... ...... Start Event End event End event Start Event Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  20. 20. 20 Pattern 6. Gateway receives, evaluates or sends a message PoolA Task A Task B ...... Message X Message Y Condition Task C ... PoolB Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Gateway receives, evaluates or sends a message PoolA Task A Task B ... ... Message X MessageY Condition Task C ... Analysing message X Send message Y ... PoolB Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  21. 21. 21 Pattern 7. Intermediate events are placed on the edge of the pool PoolA Task A Task B Start event End event Intemediate event M1 Intermediate event M2 Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Intermediate events are placed on the edge of the pool PoolB Task A Task B Start event End event Intemediate event M1 Intemediate event M2 Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  22. 22. 22 Pattern 8. Hanging intermediate events or activities PoolA Task A Task c Start event End event Intermediate event Task B Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Hanging intermediate events or activities PoolB Task A Task C Start event End event Intermediate event Task B Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  23. 23. 23 Pattern 9. Each lane in the pool contains start event Start event 1 Task A End event Start event 2 Task B End event Start event 3 Task C End event Lane1Lane2Lane3 PoolA Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Each lane in the pool contains start event Start event 1 Task A End event Task B Task C Lane1Lane2Lane3 PoolA Lane1Lane2Lane3 PoolA Task A End event Task B End event Task C End event Start event Start event 1 Start event 2 Start event 3 Fig. 1. Two possibilities of correct patterns
  24. 24. 24 Pattern 10. Incorrect use of time events Task A Task B... Task B ... Delay Exception Time event used as a DELAY mechanism Time event representing task DURATION Fig. 1. : Anti-pattern: Incorrect use of time events Solution: the meaning!
  25. 25. 25 Pattern 11. Sequence and message event represent data flow Task A Task B ...... Message AB Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Sequence and message event represent data flow Task A Task B ...... Message AB Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  26. 26. 26 Pattern 12. Event is used as a message flow source Task A Task B ...... Message A Message B A B Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Event is used as a message flow source Task A Send message B ...... Message A Message B Task C Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  27. 27. 27 Pattern 13. Improper use of flow elements Starting task A Receiving document X ... Task A finished Document X ... Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Improper use of flow elements Task A... ... Document X Event X Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  28. 28. 28 Pattern 14. Starting timer placed instead of intermediate timer Task A... ... Duration Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Starting timer placed instead of intermediate timer Task A... ... Duration Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  29. 29. 29 Pattern 15. Exception flow is not connected to the exception Task A... ... Duration Fig. 1. Anti-pattern: Exception flow is not connected to the exception Task A... ... Duration ... Normal flow Exception flow Fig. 2. Correct pattern
  30. 30. 30 Frequencies of the anti-patterns appearance 1 2 4 5 6 7 89 10 11 12 13 14 15 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Exception is modelled, but not connected   Process does not contain a end event Sequence flow crosses process boundary  Hanging intermediate events or activities Starting timer placed instead of intermediate timer 
  31. 31. 31 Conclusions We identified unique collection of most common process modelling mistakes or anti-patterns Possible practical problems:  unwanted delays in the process performance,  non-execution of the activities or  simply ambiguity which could hinder the process performers at their work Practical implications:  Improvement of the learning materials  Design of A2 poster with anti-patterns & solutions  Possible improvement of the BPMN  Improvements of BPMN modelling tool: verification!
  32. 32. 32 TheaudienceSpeaker Recieve a question Answer the question Ask a question Bored=true Coffe break Start of the discussion Does a question make any sense? yes no Mumble or smile J Discussion
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  34. 34. Last but not least Like it, share it, comment it! And of course, don’t forget to reuse it (with contribution) in your projects. If you want to learn how to identify, model, optimize processes, you can attend our live or on-line learning courses: ECQA Certified Business Process Manager - Foundation and Advanced level ECQA Certified Business Process Manager in Higher Education Institutions i-VBPM (BPM on interactive board for VET) Subscribe to newsletter: here Website: BICERO ltd. E-mail: tomislav.rozman@bicero.com LinkedIn: Tomislav Rozman 34

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