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New Post 8/8/2008 6:00 AM
User is offline vinny
66 posts
8th Level Poster


Using the Appropriate Tool 

Hi,

I have been tasked with modeling our existing payment process and I'm struggling figuring out which tool (BPMN or UML tools [Altova Umodel] are at my disposal) is appropriate in some cases.  For instance, A client begins the payment process by entering our system and choosing a payment amount.  Then they submit the payment request, which is then submitted to a payment gateway, which is then submitted to a funding institution, which is then...  Would this be considered a 'business process' or a 'design process'?

What I initially used was a Use Case diagram to specify what functions take place and what people and systems are involved.  I then modeled a sequence diagram to show the interaction between everything.

I guess what I'm trying to get is this:  Is BPMN supposed to be used only for modeling processes where people do stuff, or can it also be used to show what systems do in general?

Thanks,

vinny

 
New Post 8/8/2008 8:17 AM
User is offline Adrian M.
739 posts
3rd Level Poster




Re: Using the Appropriate Tool 

Hi Vinny,

BPMN is a process modeling notation and you can model any business process regardless of whether it is a manual process, automated process, or a mix of the two.  BPMN supports swimlanes so you can use one swimlane for each process participant (including systems).

- Adrian


Adrian Marchis
Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
 
New Post 8/8/2008 8:26 AM
User is offline Perry McLeod
70 posts
8th Level Poster




Re: Using the Appropriate Tool 

BPMN has a lot of modeling advantages over UML; however I caution strongly not to use it if your customer is not familiar with it. You will have to spend time teaching it -not to mention learning it yourself.

I lecture on it from time to time and some of the newer concepts and modeling rules are confusing to some business people.

As a general rule ALWAYS use methods, techniques, taxonomies and the like that your client is already familiar with. This is critical to keeping their interest and trust. No need to be fancy ... we have an axiom in the BA world which states that documents are created only to the extent that they are needed to gain trust and understanding.

Perry McLeod, CBAP, PMP | Senior Business Analysis Consultant PJM Limited
Vice President Professional Development and Certification, IIBA Toronto/GTA

 
New Post 8/8/2008 8:49 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Using the Appropriate Tool 

Hi:

As you describe it, what you are tasked with is documenting the flow of data as it goes from step to step.  So what you want is a modeling technique that documents the flow of data. Not flow of control, not "extends" - but the flow of data.  Do use cases document the flow of data?  No.  So use cases will not give you what you want.  Does BPMN document the flow of data? Maybe, sometimes, but in kind of an obtuse way. 

Documenting the flow of data for a complex system is hard - it is seldom done with any rigor.    Unless one focuses on the flow of data, he/she is not going to get the flow of data.  

Tony

 
New Post 8/8/2008 10:37 AM
User is offline vinny
66 posts
8th Level Poster


Re: Using the Appropriate Tool 

Thanks, all three of you, for the information!    Combining all three posts provides for me exactly what I needed to know...

Regards,

vinny

 
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