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Will BPMN Make You Right?

[This post also comes as a Podcast - scroll to bottom of page][Youtube video here]

Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is one of the more common process modeling notations currently being promoted in the world of Business Process Modeling.

Is it any good?  Well as a modeling notation it is pretty good.  It falls about mid way between a Procedure Modeling notation, a Process Modeling notation and an Information/Data Flow Modeling notation.  A good analyst could use it to produce quality process models.

Its weakness, and what most people who shout its praises fail to recognize,  is that it is simply a notation for diagramming processes.  It is not a modeling method.  It does not tell you where to start, how to proceed and how to end up in the right place.  

Is this really a problem?  Well, yes!  Many people who were previously using no recognizable standard to model processes have now moved to BPMN and believe that their processes are now better – are now correct.

This, sadly, is not so.  If they were modeling the wrong thing before, they will still be modeling the wrong thing but with a better notation.

Business Process Modeling is inherently flawed when it is used as the core modeling vehicle for an enterprise.  When used in this way it requires the production of 300%** more diagrams than are necessary, it has inherent logic faults when processes are decomposed** and it misses out modeling over 30% of core business activities**.

Will BPMN eliminate these shortcomings?  Definitely not.  But that is not a flaw in BPMN but in the “Process Centric” modeling approach taken by too many companies.

The problem is that those pushing BPMN are ignoring these inherent flaws and wrongly, though not deliberately, giving the impression that the business will end up with better modeling solutions using the notation.

** All of these shortcomings are avoided by making the Function Model the Core Business Model as it is in IMM.


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