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New Post 2/2/2009 10:26 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Data Flows and BPMN 

Question for all:

In the "real" world, to what extent does BPMN incorporate data flows?    From what I have actually seen (limited observations), data flows are not incorporated.   However, researching on line, I have read both that BPMN does and does not incorporate data flows.

Tony

 
New Post 2/3/2009 5:56 PM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster


Re: Data Flows and BPMN 

Tony,

The process flow diagram need not show the data object (inputs or outputs). However, if you consult the BPMN 1-1 Specification at the OMG site, you'll note that the Process Attributes expected include InputSets and OutputSets.  Now, most people think that by drawing the diagrams without data objects (these are optional) that they've captured the process. Well  these people need to be punished, let them them listen to Celine Dion songs for 10 hours staight.

Download the BPMN 1.1 spec and go to appendix B, there you'll find the description of the InputSET and OutputSET. Here is an extract from p 274.

Zero or more ArtifactInputs MAY be defined for each InputSet. For the
combination of ArtifactInputs and PropertyInputs, there MUST be at least one
item defined for the InputSet.
An ArtifactInput is an Artifact, usually a Data
Object. Note that the Artifacts MAY also be displayed on the diagram and MAY
be connected to the activity through an Association--however, it is not required
for them to be displayed. Further details about the definition of an ArtifactInput
can be found in Section B.11.1, “ArtifactInput,” on page 268.

Enterprise Architect from SPARX implement these in the attribute tab. BIZAGI allows you to define these. In my opinion most PROCESSes must have at least ONE input and/or OUTPUT.

Now it can be very frustrating when you ask SMEs and/or Consultants (mostly the latter) "What are the inputs to this process?". And you get blank stares!

The candle is still burning!

All the best.

warm regards,

K

 
New Post 2/4/2009 7:40 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Data Flows and BPMN 

K:

Thanks for the very informative response!  I checked out your suggested section within the BPMN 1.1 spec.  As you stated, inputs and outputs are optional with the BPMN.   From what I have seen and read, the same is true of other BPM techniques.

You stated that "Now it can be very frustrating when you ask SMEs and/or Consultants (mostly the latter)  "What are the inputs to this process?"  And you get blank stares!"   Boy is that a loaded comment!   

What I hear and read over and over again is that a process is defined by its inputs and outputs.  But, in conflict, I also see over and over again business process mapping diagraming techniques in which inputs and outputs are not handled, or whose importance is discounted.   My interpretation:  business process mapping techniques are for defining business processes, but they don't really define busness processes.   This makes my head hurt!

Even if one trys to incoporate inputs and outputs on BPMN they will be successful for other than than smallish efforts.   For larger-scale efforts, if a BA trys to put all the flow of control, inputs and outputs, and other notations on the same level, they result is going to be too complex to be of use.

Tony

 
New Post 2/5/2009 1:52 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
www.betterprojects.net
4th Level Poster




Re: Data Flows and BPMN 

 ajmarkos wrote

K:

My interpretation:  business process mapping techniques are for defining business processes, but they don't really define busness processes.   This makes my head hurt!

 

Tony

My interpretation; people not applying the tool properly.

 
New Post 2/6/2009 2:47 AM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster


Re: Data Flows and BPMN 

Tony,

People are not applying the tool as its intended. In my reserved opinion the BPMN diagram is in part a contents page, the real data sit in the narrative which include input, process, output.  This is also analogous to use-case diagrams, which some purport to be the real use-case; the diagram is merely a context page and the real use-case information sits in the narrative.

If you really want to include all inputs and outputs in a diagram - spare a thought for th IDEF0 people who defined every input, output, contraints/controls and mechanisms. see http://www.census.gov/geo/www/standards/scdd/idef.html.

warm regards,

K

 
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