Sebastian Stein's picture

Somehow I knew this was going to happen... The BPMN notation is a hot topic nowadays and if you criticize a hot topic, you get blamed, because you are against it. Well, I don’t have a problem getting blamed, but I want to take the chance to clarify some points.

There are people saying BPMN is not suitable for business users, because BPMN is too complex. Now, people add me to this group, because I criticize BPMN. So is BPMN too complex for business users? My answer is Yes and No!

  • Yes BPMN contains many redundant modelling elements. For example, you can express an “either-or” decision using an exclusive gateway or conditional sequence flows. I think this redundancy makes BPMN too complex for no reason. There should be exactly one way to express an “either-or” decision and not several. We have to get rid of those redundancies and we try to do that with your support.
  • No – BPMN is used for many different purposes such as business process modelling or workflow automation. I’m totally fine with this broad scope and I don’t argue against it. Here, conformance levels will help to create subsets of the notations for different purposes. In this respect, I love BPMN, because you can start with basic business process modelling and grow up to advanced topics such as process automation. At the beginning, you don’t have to care about the modelling constructs needed for process automation, which is good!

I hope that at some point the discussion around the complexity of BPMN will get rid of vendor pitches and people start to think openly about the good and bad points of BPMN!