Most business and technical stakeholders are vividly aware that in order to come up with good solutions, we need to be able to describe, understand, and communicate our organizations' business processes. Yet, despite decades of flowcharting-talk and uncounted number of Visio diagrams, we are still struggling with this challenge. Without doubt, this is a major contributor to projects that fail to deliver (e.g., cancelled, over-scheduled, or over-budgeted products of poor quality or that have only a fraction of the required functionality or functionality that nobody uses).
In the last couple of years, more and more organizations have adopted a new standard: Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN). By now, a de facto standard for business process modeling, BPMN enables bridging the communication gap between business and technical people by providing an effective, efficient, and flexible way to capture, model, analyze, and design business processes in a way that is easily understood by all parties.
There are several reasons organizations make this transition to BPMN:
- Simple notation: BPMN is easy to learn and easily understood by all stakeholders, on both the business and technical sides.
- Flexible and rich expression: BPMN has three levels of modeling abstraction that allow describing simple/high-level processes (descriptive level), analysis and optimization (analytic level), and specifying complex processes for IT implementation and/or execution (execution level).
- Unmatched capabilities: BPMN is the only business process notation capable to clearly represent a comprehensive view of the integration of processes with complex events, data objects flow, and/or business rules.
- Can show both the whole picture and the details: BPMN allows progressively elaborating the high-level models into further details, in a hierarchical structure, without losing the relationships between different process components.
- Efficiency/reuse: In BPMN, same models are used throughout the whole Solution/System Development Lifecycle (SDLC), with no need for copying models or (re)inventing the wheel each time one changes perspective on a process.
- Widely adopted standard: Common notation (symbols) and rules (syntax) that enable clarity of communication and making sure processes are consistent and valid.
- Standard accompanied by methodologies and best practices: An active BPMN community established and maintains a strong knowledgebase of methodologies and best practices.
- Wide adoption by tool providers: Virtually all major vendors, commercial or open-source, have now adopted the BPMN standard.