TP ThinkingProcess

Process Modelling Standards


BPMN is a process modelling Notation, that has been standardised by the BPMI and is currently at version 1.2, with version 2 under consultation. The full pdf specification can be found on the Object Management Group Website.
BPMN defines a Business Process Diagram (BPD) which is based on a flowchart with activity objects and flow controls that define the order that activities are performed. The basic objects shown below:


Flow Objects



Start Event


End Event


Intermediate Event


Gateway or Decision


Connecting Objects


Sequence Flow

Shows order of sequence of activities in a process

Message Flow

Shows flow of messaged between two separate participants, roles or resource pools


Associates data, text and other artefacts with objects e.g. inputs and outputs

Swimlane Objects



A pool is used in swimlaning to represent a participant and is a container for grouping participants into lanes


A lane is a sub partition within a Pool and extends the entire length of the pool



This is used to group objects but does not affect the process flow


Used to provide additional text to a diagram

Data Object

Data objects are required or produced by activities and are connected to activities through Associations


UML (Unified Modelling Language) Is a general purpose modelling toolset used usually in software development, but does include some tools that are useful for systems and process modelling (Eg UML Case modelling). The different toolsets are detailed on Wikipedia.


IDEF (integration Definition) is a suite of 14 toolsets used for systems and software modelling. The different toolsets are detailed on Wikipedia. Probably the most relevant to Process Improvement is IDEF0 which is a function modelling notation for analysing and design of business processes, amongst other business objects. It models the decisions, activities and actions of a function or organisation. The definition of a process is through the "Context Diagram" shown below, which includes Inputs, Output, Controls, Mechanisms and the Function or Processes name.

Individual Functions or Processes can be associated with each other in either a flowchart or decomposition form, both shown below