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Can you depict data items in a business process diagram?

Posted by Chris Adams

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Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Domain Modeling, Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)


Data objects and associations can be depicted in business process flow diagrams.  BPMN for example defines a specific notation for dealing with data inputs and outputs from activities. The diagram below shows the standard notation used to show a data object which is generated as output from one activity and used as input by another activity. 

BPMN Data Object

The BMPN Assocation connector (dotted line with an arrowhead showing the direction of flow), is used to show the data association between the activity which produces the output and the activity which receives and uses the input.  If the data within the data object is defined as required, then the activity that relies on the data object as an input cannot proceed until the data is available.

The following diagram shows another allowed “shortcut” notation that can be used when the data object is an output of one activity and an input into the next activity in sequence. However, data objects do not always have to be used as input to the next activity in sequence.  They can be used by activity anywhere later in the process.

BPMN Data Object Shortcut



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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.


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