Business Modelling: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding it.

There are way too many CEOs and managers who think “great staff” is enough.

“If I recruit great staff,” they say, “I will naturally succeed in business.”

If only it were that easy!

Imagine downtime because a business process was not documented. 

Imagine the loss of money.

Imagine the undue burden placed on the employee who can’t delegate a simple

task because there are no processes detailing the approach.

Here’s the brutal truth: If you’re serious about generating profit on a consistent basis, if you’re serious about not just having a good organization but a great organization, if you want your organization to outlive you or your tenure as a manager to be successful, you need to be very systematic with how you run the business.

Otherwise you’re taking the “cooked spaghetti” approach - throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall and hoping something sticks.

Today I’m going to show you a technique – business process modeling – that almost guarantees you avoid all those problems and improves your business processes when implemented.

This post is divided into eight chapters:

Chapter 1: What is Business Process Modeling? 

Chapter 2: 9 Powerful Business Process Modeling Methodologies

Chapter 3: Business Process Simulation vs Business Process Modeling
vs Business Mapping

Chapter 4: 14 Reasons Business Process Modeling is Important

Chapter 5: A Guide to Understanding Business Process Modeling Concept

Chapter 6: Encouraging Staff to Accept Business Process Modeling
Implementation -A Simple Guide

Chapter 7: How to Choose the Right Business Process Modeling Software
for your Company 

Chapter 8: 8 Business Process Modeling Examples

Chapter 1: What is Business Process Modeling?

According to, business process modeling is the
analytical representation or illustration of an organization's business

Techopedia defines business process modeling as the creation of a model
of a business process which helps us to better understand that process.

I love to define business process modeling as a technique that uses a tool
to create or improve processes in order to increase productivity and to
save cost.

Now you understand what business process modeling entails, You might
be wondering

“OK, that’s great. But why all the craze about Business process Modeling”?

Hold on in this post, as I’ll walk you through some powerful business process
modeling technologies:

Chapter 2: 9 Powerful Business Process Modeling Methodologies

There are many techniques which can be applied to modeling a business
process Here are 9 of the most popular techniques:

  • Business process modeling notation
  • UML diagrams
  • Flowchart techniques
  • Yourdon technique (Data Flow Diagram)
  • Coloured petrinet
  • Gantt Chart
  • Integrated definition for function modeling (IDEF)
  • Object oriented method
  • Workflow technique

 1.Business Process Modeling Notation

Business process modeling notation is a flowchart method. It shows a visual
sequence of business activities and the information required to complete the
process. The essence of which is to improve efficiency and to gain advantage
over the competition.

Developed by the Business Process Management Initiative, BPMN became a
more detailed standard when they merged with Object Management Group
which eventually gave birth to BPMN 2.0


To make the chart coherent, BPMN uses standards and a number of symbols.
Once these symbols are mastered, it becomes easy for staff to understand
what the chart is all about.

BPMN uses 4 major components -Flows,Connections, Swimlanes, and
Artefacts -which we look at in detail later on.

What it’s good for

  • BPMN is good for representing concepts and processes that cannot be easily captured using workflow diagrams.
  • BPMN is good for modeling existing processes which were poorly documented or not at all.
  • Process automaton.
  • Risk Analysis.
  • Standardization of a given process.

When not to use it

Like any analysis tool in your arsenal, choose BPMN with care. Don’t use
BPMN if:

  • the processes you create can easily be expressed with workflow diagrams.
  • your organization won’t train staff on how to interpret BPMN diagram.
  • This is especially true because BPMN diagrams can be comparatively difficult for stakeholders to understand.



UML -Unified Modeling Language - is an object-oriented modeling process
that uses visual representation to better understand flaws or errors in a given business process or software system.

UML was mainly used as a general modelling language, but as time went on ,
it was deployed in documenting business processes. 

However, over the years the popularity of UML has waned and as a result,
UML is slowly being replaced by BPMN because it was primarily designed
for software systems, not business process.

What to Use It For

  • To automate software production. 
  • To improve quality and reduce cost and time to market.
  • To manage the complexity of systems as they increase in scope and scale.
  • To produce visually appealing business process model.

When not to use it

As with any platform, UML has its place. There are instances where it isn’t
necessary. As a business analyst UML isn’t important if:

  • your organization needs only one diagram type. UML has almost a dozen different types of diagrams which mean people may have difficulty understanding the diagram outside your organization.
  • you can get by with informal, box-and-line diagrams, which are easy to create in Power-Point or on a whiteboard.
  • the software architecture follows a reference architecture that does not require you to create diagrams to represent and communicate the design. A situation George Fairbanks calls “architecture-indifferent design.”
  1. Flowchart Technique


The flowchart technique is a tool that is used to achieve visual clarity.

A flowchart can depicts a process, system or computer algorithm. 

Used widely in multiple fields to document, improve and communicate
often complex processes in clear ,easy-to-understand diagrams -flowcharts,
or flow chart use rectangles, ovals, diamonds and several other shapes to
define the type of step, along with connecting arrows to define flow and

They range from simple, hand-drawn charts to comprehensive
computer-drawn diagrams showing multiple steps and routes.

 The advantage is that most process drawing software supports the creation
of flowcharts.

What to Use It For

Widely believed to have been first used by Frank Gilbreth to document a
process flow. Flow charts can be used to:

  • Standardize a process. A brewery can use flowcharts to ensure that standards are maintained while producing a specific beer.
  • Communicate a process. Inexperienced members of an organization may
  • reference a flow chart in order to complete activities in a set order.
  • identify and plug wastage in a given process.

When not to use it

Flowcharts can be a bad choice:

  • Flowcharts have no set of agreed symbols apart from few commonalities. As a result, it can become difficult for others to understand especially if your flowchart uses non-standard symbols.
  • Alterations may require you to re-draw the flowchart completely. This is a time waster.
  1. Yourdon’s Technique (Data Flow Diagram)

The Data Flow Diagram (DFD) is a graphical representation of the flow of
data through an information system. It enables you to represent the
processes in your information system from the viewpoint of data.
The DFD lets you visualize how the system operates, what the system
accomplishes and how it will be implemented, when it is refined with
further specification.


What to Use It For

Data flow diagrams can be used:

  • if you want to document and show users how data moves between various processes in a system. You can use it to capture the flow of health data such as patient's demographic information, allergies, lab values and so on, in an information system like EHR or LIS.
  • Source: 
  • To clarify which processes are manual which are automated. A Grocery store can use it identify temporary data storage such as a sales transaction file.
  • To describe the boundaries of a system. It is also beneficial for communicating existing system knowledge to the user. DFDs can be understood by both technical and nontechnical audiences. source:
  • To show you what happens during information flow( Logical DFD’S) and to show you how information moves through a system.(Physical DFD’S)
  • If a programmer expects modification to an existing code. DFD helps the programmer see what will happen if a certain code is injected into the program. It can also be used for error detection source: 

When not to Use It 

Using Data flow diagrams is not compulsory if:

  • the diagram being created doesn’t require one to capture the flow of information that occurs between systems. For example, if the diagram requirement is to capture just the flow of activities within a process then a process map is sufficient.
  • you are expected to create diagrams quickly. It takes a long time to create a DFD - so long that the analyst may not receive support from management to complete it.

  1. Coloured Petri nets
Image CPN-NestedLocking


[slideshare id=15635960&doc=coloredpetrinetstheoryandapplications-121214040537-phpapp01]

Coloured Petri nets are graphical languages for constructing models of
concurrent systems and analyzing their properties. Concurrent systems
perform multiple tasks at the same time, whereas sequential systems
complete each task in turn. Concurrency makes communication,
synchronization, and resource sharing complex but offers efficiency
and cost savings in return.

What to use it for?

Coloured Petri nets is useful

  • if you are looking for a platform that uses basic primitives (simplest elements) for modeling concurrency, communication, and synchronization.
  • when modeling a system in a hierarchical manner i.e top down manner.
  • to facilitate system design and evaluate system performance.

When Not To Use It

CPN is a tool you don’t need:

  • if the process to be captured is simple. The mathematical representation of the data can be daunting. That is why the process hasn’t been widely adopted as a business process modeling technique. 


  1. Gantt Charts


Henry L Gantt, an American engineer and social scientist, developed
Gantt charts as a production control tool in 1917. Gantt charts are pretty
popular because they are implemented in Microsoft Project.

Gantt chart provides a graphical illustration of a schedule that plans,
coordinate, and track specific tasks in a project. 

What to use it for?

Gantt Charts can be used for:

  • scheduling and visualizing the task of a project and its total duration.This allows for better long term planning and implementation.
  • identifying project shortcuts as you can breakdown long term project into smaller chunks, making it easier to meet project deadlines.
  • identifying dependency relationship of task. This makes it possible for teams to schedule their work in such a way that there are no overlaps.
  • creating timeline for progression of each task. This makes it possible to optimize resource allocation.

When Not to use it.

While Gantt Charts are a very useful tool, there are scenarios where they
may not be appropriate. For example, it isn’t the best to use Gantt Chart if:

  • you want to determine how a task behind schedule affects the other. 
  • you haven’t constructed a work breakdown structure. Creating WBS alongside the Gantt chart, can lead to you having to recreate the entire project schedule if you omit something.
  • you want to capture a project triple constraints which are time, cost and scope at the same time. This is because the project cost is not depicted on a Gantt chart. 

  1. IDEF

Source: Wikimedia Commons

IDEF (Integrated DEFinition) is a well-documented robust standard with a
family of modeling languages in the field of system and software engineering. IDEF has been applied to simulation, object oriented analysis and knowledge acquisition; it has been used by the

military, Department of Defense and many companies for Business process
capture and improvement.

Each IDEF method is designed for a particular use: 

  • IDEF0 models the decision and action or task performed by an organization and include inputs, outputs, and controls of each task. IDEF0 is good in functional analysis. It enables a modeler identify what functions are performed, what is required in performing those functions, what is right and what is wrong about the current system.
  • IDEF1 is a conceptual modelling method 
  • IDEF2 is a simulation model specification method.
  • IDEF3 has an object component that can be used to model how objects undergo change in a process. 
  • IDEF 4 allows for the capturing and management of object oriented design principles 
  • IDEF5 is a knowledge acquisition and engineering method aimed at supporting enterprise ontologies.source

What to Use it for

The ultimate goal of any modeling tool should be real life deployment of the
tool. One where it can achieve real operational benefits. A good IDEF model

  • serve as a communication vehicle for streamlining existing processes, introduction of new technology and to achieve consensus among staff involved in the change.
  • identify where improvements can be made in a given process.

When not to use it

Everything that has an advantage has it disadvantage. Hence, you advised
not to use IDEF:

  • if you require consistency between different levels of modeling. 
  • if you are looking tool that takes time dependent flow into cognisance 

  1. Object-Oriented method


Allen Mellor defines Object Oriented Modeling as an act of sketching out the
objects involved in an Object Oriented program and deciding which objects
talk to each other, what they say, and what the responsibilities of each object
should be all without writing any code or program logic.

OOM technique ensures effective communication between users and
stakeholders. It adopts common terminologies stakeholders use in everyday business. Source:

What to use it for

Object-oriented modeling is useful if your organization wants to:

  •  improve stakeholder communication and product quality. Objects are easier to interpret than codes.
  • reduces the need for maintenance and increases reliability and flexibility by building new behaviours with the use of existing object.
  •  ensure that stakeholders get a better grasp of any “to be” process because objects can easily be understood by non-technical stakeholders who are also key influencers in an organization.

When not to use it

The object-oriented model focuses on storing complex data types known as objects. This means you are advised:

  • not to use it when working on simple data records with simple relationship. It is time consuming.
  • not to deploy object oriented modeling if staff are not sufficiently trained or if there is a shortage of qualified programmers.
  • not to use it if your code is not already OOP. It’s not worth porting your code if your old code is already relational.

  1. Workflow Technique



Workflow technique documents processes which are performed by people.
It models the series of steps that needs to be performed to complete any
particular task right from the start to the end. As a graphic-technique it
documents the way in which activities and tasks are performed. 


In essence Workflow techniques focus on processes within a department.

N/B: There are arguments on the difference between business process
management and workflow management. This article however helps explain
the different facets of thoughts. 

What to use it for.

You can use it to:

  • Create before and after images to illustrate changes to a process. This helps communicate how useful the new "to be" process is. 
  • Draw a diagram for an entire value stream, set of activities or a single activity. 
  • Optimize most task in an organization.

When not to use it

it is advisable you don’t use workflow if you

  • want to improve the whole process in an organization. It is advisable you use a Business Process Modeling tool.
  • want manage so many organizational processes together.

Having looked at 9 ways processes can be modeled, the next chapter will
treat differences among process mapping, process modeling and process
simulation and how important they are to the success of any business.

Chapter 3: Business Process Simulation vs Business Process Modeling vs
Business Mapping

Business process mapping visualizes what a business does by taking into
account roles, responsibilities, and standards. In essence, it focuses on
documenting an existing process while business process modeling not
only does business mapping but also looks for a visual way to understand,
analyze and improve upon an existing process.

While Modeling looks for inefficiencies or bottleneck in an existing process
and identifies solutions to these challenges simulation help companies
predict how business processes perform under specific conditions. 

Both Simulation and modeling can be used to improve an existing business
Business process simulation also test process design, measure performance,
identify bottlenecks and test changes. This helps organizations determine if a
given process has cost-saving possibilities.


One major difference between simulation and modelling is that while
modeling is seen as static, simulation can be dynamic as
the variables of a simulation always changes. SOURCE

There you have it: the difference among simulation, mapping and business
process modeling 

Now let’s look at reasons business process modeling is a must for every

Chapter 4: 14 Important Reasons Business Process Modelling is Important

Listed below are 14 reasons BPM is important.

  1. Business Process Modeling Improves Communication Between User and

Communication of specific process between users and management becomes
easier. Diagrams are simple to understand and users can easily inform
management of necessary changes to be made.

According to Studio Hyperset, adopting Business Process Modelling

“helps us communicate effectively, scope thoroughly, and thereby:

  • Keep our team happy and on track 
  • retain existing clients 
  • attract new clients
  • increase our revenue.”
  1. Business Process Modeling ensures Consistency in a Given Process

The hallmark of any process is the ability to get the desired result every time.
Application of business process modeling breaks down a process into a set
of steps that anyone can follow to produce the same result.

  1. Business Process Modeling Saves Lives

Business Process Modelling tools document checklists and have helped saved
many lives.

Here’s is a historical story to buttress the importance of the checklist. The
iconic B-1 7“Flying Fortress “The plane that flew faster than previous
bombers in the 1930’s stalled at 300 feet and crashed landed in a ball of
fiery explosions. Investigation carried out discovered that the crash wasn’t
due to any mechanical fault but as a result of the pilot error.

The question is: how can checklists save lives?

  • Checklists which can be developed using modeling tools help healthcare workers execute procedures correctly. For example checklist can virtually eliminate common infections in intensive care units.
  • Checklist helps reduce the risk of air accidents occurring.

What are the lessons?

The above story showed that breaking a process into a series of activities and documenting it can save lives. 

  1. Business Process Modeling Saves Time

Business process modeling helps organization figure out processes that can be improved upon. Business process modeling tools can identify manual process that cause drudgery. The process can then be improved on through automation, hence saving time.

For example, 

  • An Illinois Fertility centre used Business Process Modelling to save more than 75 hours of work time per week by digitizing patient charts . 
  • Another premium Tobacco firm was able to save time through Business modeling implementation. They achieved this by digitally transmitting and responding to complaints in a timely manner. 
  • Also Adriatic Slovenica one of the biggest insurance firm in Slovenia decreased claim processing time by 50% from four to two working days, at the workload of around 1,400 policies per day. As a result Adriatic Slovenica employees channeled saved time into additional process activities and accepted tasks with a higher added value for the insurance company.
  1. Business Process Modeling Improves the Efficiency of a Business

The desire of any good Business analyst and managers is to cut wastage. 

Business process modeling enables an organization spot inefficient or
duplicate process that elongates the delivery of a goal or objective.

The Los Angeles Sheriff Department did this and improved efficiency by
automating their HR process. It: 

  • drove the time-to-hire down from as long as 18 months. 
  • reduced the hiring time process.
  • made candidates to be informed through email notification during the hiring process
  • helped establish milestones for each key process
  1. Business Process Modeling Improves Transparency

One key issue in organization today is lack of trust -top down, horizontally,
among customers and vendors.

A business process model increases trust level regarding work activities.
Since it visually shows how work activities are to be carried out, who performs
specific work activities and what level of quality is needed. The transparency
provided by a business process model improves trust level among

  1. Business Process Modeling Reduces Error.

Process automation reduces the room for error. Hearst Media and Services
discovered this when they automated their processes. As a result, they were
able to reduce errors due to manual handling that led to missing orders and
input errors. 

Other benefits:

  • fewer audits was required
  • efficient handling of customers service
  • fewer people needed to manage orders.
  1. Business Process Modeling Automates Business Processes

Organizations can use Business process modeling to determine repeatable
tasks to be automated. For example, McKinley, one of the largest divorce
and family law firms in The US Northwest was able to free its workforce
from process drudgery by automating manual tasks.

The firm now focuses on the important task of reading legal questions which 
has helped to save cost and increased efficiency at the firm

  1. Business Process Modeling Helps Make Training of New Team Member

Training of new team members of staff of an organization can be tedious.

Deploying business process modeling makes it easy for new team members
to easily familiarize themselves with organization procedures as it enables
for quick understanding of its process.

Not only that, it helps save time spent in the onboarding process. For
example, Primera Air was able automate the time -consuming manual
onboarding process. This also helped decrease paper processes as most of
the processes became digitized. 

10. Business Process Modeling Allows For Record Keeping of Business Process

You can capture existing and former processes using Business process
modeling tools. The implementation of these processes can even be
published as case studies.

For example, the business process modeling of a new process in a brewery
industry may document the use of Barley while the old process documents the
use of sorghum. 

In the future, if it becomes “retro-cool” to drink the old version, documenting
the process using business process modeling allows for easy retrieval of this in
formation, which in essence saves money. 

  1. Business Process ModelingSaves Money

Existing processes may need to be modified or replicated. The use of
business process modeling makes for easy modification or replication.
This can help the organization to save money.

For example, In 2015 ten of the world’s largest drugs manufacturers used
process modeling tools to collaborate on a project to develop software
that helped cut the costs of delivering drugs used in clinical trials by at
least 10%.

  1. Business Process Modeling Visuals Are Easy To Understand

The essence of business process modeling is to make a process that is easy
to understand. It’s essential that stakeholders have a mutual
understanding of the business process. Common mutual understanding is
difficult to achieve with text only.

The visual nature of business process models gives stakeholders clarity on
process requirements. The organization is hence better for it.

  1. Business Process Modeling reduces the Risk of Rework 

The essence of a given process is to propose a solution that fulfills a given

Lack of business process modeling may lead to a proposed solution being
reworked or redone. This not only consumes time but can also demoralize
the staff who need to redo a particular project due to the solution not
fulfilling the process requirement.

Every functional requirement has at least one process that makes it
possible for it to be delivered . For example, the function of the salesperson
is to give goods to the customer in exchange for money. This, in turn,
requires a process which needs to outline the step from receiving the
guest to the point of exchange.

  1. Business Process Modeling Makes For Easy Enforcement of Rules

The truth is that every business that desires increased profit must have a
set of rules. 

A given process may have several or different types of rules. It could be a
process dependency rule, process execution rule, process non-functional
rule and process data storage rule. 

Business process modeling captures this rules in a format that can easily
be followed making it easy to enforce the rules since they can be captured
in an easy to implement format

Enforcing this rules makes it possible to deliver project benefits as at when

Now we are done with the benefit of business process modeling let’s look at
how we can create Business Process Process Model diagrams using BPMN

Chapter 5: A Guide to Understanding Business Process Modeling 

Several tools can be used in capturing business process models. I have
highlighted 9 of them in chapter two.

However, in this chapter, we will focus on using business process modeling

While other tools can also be used to model process, business process
modeling notation has worldwide acceptance as a tool of good repute and
uses a standard notation which increases the probability that the diagrams
you produce will be better understood by other stakeholders.

So lets dial into some Business Process Modeling symbols and their meaning.

Business process modeling Symbols and Meaning

Business process modeling diagrams use a set of standard symbols. Each
symbol has a specific meaning.

The four elements that make up business process modeling are:

  1. Flow Objects(Elements) which include events, activities, and gateway


  1. Connecting Objects which includes sequence flow, message flow, and
  2. Swim Lanes which include pool and lane
  3. Artifacts which include data objects, group, and annotation 

Flow objects are graphical objects that can be connected to or from a
sequence flow. Flow objects connect together to form a complete process flow. Linked by a connector, they are the building blocks of a business process modeling Diagram. Following the direction of the flow objects helps readers to determine if a process has been executed.


Events are signals that tells you something is to happen which would impact
a business process. An event can be internal or external and includes the start
and end of a process as well as any interaction that can influence the process.

Represented by a circle, events can start, modify or complete a process.
It can further be divided into

-Start: Which tells us where a particular process in a Business Process
Diagram (BPD) begins. A process without a start event cannot be executed.

-Intermediate: This occurs after a process has been created and triggers
changes that affect the execution of a process. An intermediate event
determines if a process would go to completion.

For example, a company bidding for a job writes a proposal and sends
it via email. In BPMN this is represented by an intermediate message
event which indicates that the message has been sent. The receiver of the
bid has to wait for the email to come inbox. The arrival is hence depicted as a catching intermediate message event which tells us that the message has been received. Once this happens, process execution can then take place.

-End Event- An end event indicates that a process will end with respect to
sequence flow. It indicates the end of a flow process.



Activities describe the work carried within a business process. It can be
referred to as the work done by a company or organization. 

It can include single steps like approving a request or multiple steps like
filling out a form or assembling a chair. Example of activities carried out
by a secretary can include printing of receipts, replacing of cartridges,
generating of reports, calling a hotline, scheduling a meeting.

Represented by a rounded corner rectangle, activity can be subdivided into 3


This represents work that cannot be broken down to a finer level. An example
of a task would be printing a receipt. Here printing of a receipt will signify a
task if no other sequential activity comes after carrying it out. Another
example is confirming delivery of an item.


A subrocces on the other hand is a process that can be found in another
process. A subprocess makes it easier to understand a BPD 

In process diagram, a subprocess does two of the following:

  1. Decomposes a diagram to be more readable
  2. Describes repeated activities

An example of a subprocess is an activity to find a new employee, which
other activities. Below is an example of the process and the breakdown of the
subprocess. A sub-process can either be collapsed to hide details or expanded
to reveal additional details.

Image source


Gateways are symbols that either separate or recombine flow in a Business
Process Diagram diagram. 

They control how a flow is joined together or separated and helps determine
the branching, forking merging or joining of several paths.

There are 7 gateway source 

Exclusive gateway:

An exclusive gateway splits a flow into two or more paths. However, the process
can only continue on one of those paths based on a specific condition. A task on an
exclusive gateway cannot be executed simultaneously. For example, to the
question “is the product in stock?” the store employee can either request for the
item from the warehouse or place and order with the supplier.

As seen above the two process cannot occur simultaneously.

Inclusive Gateway

The difference between the inclusive and exclusive gateway is that inclusive
gateway makes it possible for a token to flow down one or more path depending
on how you evaluate the outgoing conditional sequence flow.

For example, if a product survey is carried out, the interviewee can make one or
two product choice. In inclusive gateway, a condition can be set so that if the
interviewee can be added to an email list if s/he loves sample A, and Facebook Bot
list if the person likes sample B. A third condition can also be set such that a
voucher is issued if the interviewee loves neither A nor B.

Parallel Gateway

Parallel gateway can split a process flows into two or more paths. It allows the
process flow to follow the entire path simultaneously. The parallel gateway is great
for processes that need to be carried out concurrently. In essence it’s like an
inclusive, except it always splits into 2+ flows, all of which runs concurrently.

Complex Gateway

BPMN complex gateway can be used in splitting or merging complicated process
flow. Complex gateway are not often used in BPMN since the simpler gateways such as inclusive and exclusive gateway can be combined together to achieve the same aim.

A Complex Gateway allows the modeler to specify any arbitrary rules needed to
determine how to emit tokens or process arriving tokens.

The example below shows how the BPMN Complex Gateway could be used for
an interview process where references have been requested for a particular
candidate. The process is intended to request 5 references, but for the sake of time
it will proceed after receiving only 3.

source: Modern Analyst

N/B: Don Baisley defines a token as what moves through a process. It begins at a start event and arrives at the end event where it terminates.

Here is a video to further explain the concept of Tokens in BPMN

Event-Based Gateway

Event based Gateway is used to give options. It is conditional. It allows you to
branch your process on the assumption that an event is likely to occur at a specific
part of the process. For example, you can use an event gateway if a situation arises
where the stock is no longer available. In such a situation, the process cannot
continue until the stock becomes available. A message trigger can either be
introduced into the process to tell you the stock is available.

Event Based Gateway can be:

 Parallel or Exclusive 


Connections link flow elements. Sequence and Message flow are the two kinds of
connectors in BPMN.

Sequence Flow connects flow objects in a sequential order while Message Flow
shows the flow of messages between separate pools or lanes that move from one
process participant to another.

Each sequence flow has only one source and one target. A sequence flow can cross
the boundaries between lanes of a pool but cannot cross the boundaries of a pool.

( process modeling-connecting-objects.

i.e between two pools. It isn’t used in lanes.

Association shows the relationship between artifacts and flow object.


A swim lane diagram is a chart that shows how a company is segmented into
different departments and people with varied responsibilities.
It is arranged in a way such that people can see the given process from start to the

A swimlane is like a pool where swimmers are competing with each other. The
pools are divided into strips called lanes, and each swimmer is assigned to a
specific lane.

The pool represents a participant in a given process and is represented as a rectangular container with a solid thick line. The pool assumes process control- in essence it assigns tasks.

The lane on the other hand sets the boundaries of a business process and contains
at most one business process. It is a partition of a pool that extends from the
beginning to the end of the pool just as you have in a swimming pool.

A swimlane can represent employees, workgroup or departments.


Artifact is a business process modeling toolkit that allows process designers to
extend the basic business process modeling notation to include additional
information about the process in a Business Process Diagram.

Artefacts are important as they enable non-technical people to get better
insight into a certain process.

Types of Artifacts

  1. Data Object: 

Data object represents information flowing through the process, such as
business documents, e-mails, letters. They provide additional information
about what a process does. A data object is linked to a given process and there
fore it is shown within a process or sub-process. For example, an invoice can
be depicted as a document-like symbol. This document styled symbol is called
a data object. A data object can be reused or changed during a process. An
invoice can change from open, to canceled, to overpaid. 

  1. GROUP

A rounded -corner rectangle with dash line -a group organizes different
activities but doesn't affect the flow in the diagram.. It’s a rectangle drawn
around a bunch of tasks to show they’re related, but is just for clarity.

Groups as an artifact organizes tasks or process but it isn’t an activity.

It can be used to highlight activities that belong to different pools

  1. Annotation

Annotation allows for the addition of textual comments to explain things that
are not clear. Annotation allows the modeler to add descriptive information to
diagrams. The text added makes it easy for the business user to understand
the process.

Basic Requirement in Creating a Business Process Diagram

Understand That Each Business Process Diagram should define the following:

  • The start of a process and
  • The people involved in that process
  • The dependencies that exist between activities
  • What alternatives (xor gateways are there if any
  • The steps (task or sub-processes) that is necessary.
  • The information (data objects) relevant within the process
  • And how the process terminates

Once the above can be defined in a process, you can easily construct a
business process modeling diagram. An example of a business process
modeling diagram is the HR Recruitment Process:


Here is a video that shows how to create a Recruitment Process Diagram
using a BPMN modeling tool.

Another example is one that describes an order to cash process as shown below:

  • Identify the Starting Point of the Process
  • The starting point of a process is usually triggered by an event which could be:
    • An arrival of a new document
    • The arrival of customer order
    • Human errors
  • Breakdown of the Event into Steps
  • The various steps to fulfill a task has to be identified
  • Dependencies need to be created so as to fulfill the process
  • Identify who or what completes each step

In the example below, the waiter is designated as the person in charge of this
process and hence is the person who completes the step.

Mcdonald's Process Flow Chart by Creately

McDonald’s Order to Cash Diagram by Creately

Online Ordering Process by Bizagi

Having highlighted the basic steps in modeling a business process, it is
important staff are co-opted into the process of implementing Business
Process models. To tackle this, the next chapter explains how staff can be
encouraged to buy into the implementation of business process modeling.

Chapter 6: Encouraging Staff to Accept Business Process Modeling
Implementation -A Simple Guide

Most workers are scared of their organization adopting business process
modeling. In most organization instituting business process modeling has.
been linked with redundancy and loss of jobs which has led to a situation
where people on hearing it begin to fret. This ought not to be so.

The entrenched fear if not well managed can lead to mass exodus of quality
talents. This is why business process modeling should be people-centered and
sufficient information should be given to staff before it’s implemented.

In order to eradicate this ingrained fear, Geoffrey Balmes a Senior Business
Architect recommended the implementation of Organizational Change
Management (OCM ) alongside business process modeling.
[Note that “business process management” in his linked article is business
process modeling.

According to Balmes, “Organizational Change Management (OCM) does many
things with regards to change initiatives: it raises awareness, manages impact,
mitigates resistance, and helps improve adoption.”

Constant communication and increased awareness can help achieve this. 

A well implemented OCM manages the impact on the organization. As you
know, we live in a dynamic world where change is constant. To make people
more receptive to these changes, there is a need to institute OCM.

Why You Must Think Like a User

Many business process modeling fails because the business analyst failed to
inform other stakeholders. By so doing they alienate the staff who feel they
are not carried along.Source

The reason you should look at a process from the perspective of a user is so
that if you can identify certain challenges the user may experience and see
how the user views can be incorporated into the process.

To explain it better here’s a story S.E Slack told to buttress this point: 

I'm reminded of a recent experience at McDonald's, the worldwide fast-food
restaurant. I worked at McDonald's as a teenager—lots of kids do. One of the
benefits of working there was that I learned how to quickly count change
and add up purchases.

During a recent visit, however, I noticed that the teenager running the cash
register wasn't required to do any of those things. The cash register did all
the work for him; it even told him how much change to give me. After he
closed the cash drawer, he was completely at a loss as to what to do when I
realized he had accidentally given me too much in change. The computer
had moved on, waiting for the next new customer, but the teenager still had
me to deal with. He couldn't open the drawer or figure out how much extra
money he had given me, so he finally gave up and told me to keep the extra

My point is that this teenager had no understanding of the monetary process
the computer was handling. In turn, the process had no understanding of
what the teenager was dealing with. He simply doled out the money as
directed. When the process failed, he couldn't determine how to fix the error,
because the entire process was a system process, not a user process. In the
end, his solution to the problem was to lose money for McDonald's.

When you model processes, think of this poor, frustrated kid at McDonald's.
He wanted to do the right thing, but the system-focused process wouldn't let
him do it quickly and easily. The result? Lost revenue. This can happen in a
million different ways at a million different organizations if you forget to
model processes from a user perspective. It's critical, then, that business
analysts never forget that important element of business modeling: the
user. That element starts with the requirements, and it should be kept at the
top of your list throughout the business modeling process.

When modeling processes, it is important that you think of the user. Thinking of the user enables you to know what an organization is currently facing. And it’s for this reason several business analysts recommend the use of “USE CASE”.

For those unaware of what USE CASE means -it is an interaction (steps, task)
between a role and a system to reach a certain goal. 

In order to make a use case super useful, a "Use Story" should be incorporated.

A use story helps to capture smaller picture details.

Below is an example of a use case for a hiring process

  • Job opening
  • Applicants interviewed
  • Applicants selected
  • Offer made
  • Offer accepted
  • Applicant begin work


  • Job opening
  • HR advertises the position and related qualification
  • Applicants apply for the job. Resumes are sorted according to qualification
  • Interviews are conducted. Applicants are separated into two stacks
  • Management conducts second interviews for acceptable candidates
  • Management selects one candidate to fill the position
  • HR makes a job offer
  • If accepted, background checks are conducted. If not accepted management selects second candidates.
  • When candidates accept the offer in writing, a start date is set
  • Badges and other official work documents are generated
  • Applicant begins work on the start date.
  • Benefits and vested dates begin
  • Payroll records are generated
  • First paycheck is sent.

How To Counter Employee Resistance to Implementation of New

According to George Chast, “Simple! Include them!”

He went on to say, “Contrary to most folks first thoughts, I do not believe it
is fear of new ways or losing their job, I see that people naturally want to
achieve their objectives and while they know they can do it the old way, they
are not sure they can be successful for the business the new way.”

The truth is that to get people to accept a change, the organization must make them part of the process from the very beginning. Interviews and conversation that will allay their fears should be done. Trainings that will help checkmate the fear of people should be carried out. When staff see they are included in the decision making process they take ownership of the change. And instead of being antagonistic they embrace the change that comes.

Now we know how important it is for staff to be carried along in business
process modeling, let's look at some top class modeling tools which can be
adopted by your organization.

Chapter 7: How To Choose The Right Business Process Modeling Software
For Your Company

As I mentioned earlier, the number of modeling tools in the market are many, making it difficult to choose the right business process modeling tool. 

 Here is a checklist to help you select the appropriate software to purchase

  1. What is your Business Requirement?

Does your business require complex diagrams, collaboration, multiple users,
version tracking and a variety of other options? Are you working in a
medium-sized or large company? 

You may need a paid tool to ensure you have access to all the tools and
options your company requires. In choosing a paid tool you should think
about the medium to long term, for the best return on investment.

  1. What is your niche?

Some tools cater for specific niches. Choosing a specific niche Business
process modeling tool is far better since it is specifically tailored for your
business. Customization is a key benefit as the business analyst doesn’t waste
time starting from scratch. 

One such tool is MindBODY whose core value proposition is helping small
businesses in the health and wellness industry. 

N/B It is easier for suggested upgrade to be made when a tool caters for a
specific niche as against when it is used across several industries. 

  1. What are the Key Strength and Weakness?

No two tools are completely the same. The Oracle tool, which is considered a
Swiss Army knife for business process modeling is an overkill if your
organization is small and so may be a drain on resources. 

As an organization you should compare the key benefit the software you want
to purchase would give to you. You can create a table where you can mention
the features and tick the requirements you need.

  1. How many Customers use the software?

A tool used by many customers shows it is solid. Find out the number of
organizations using the software. If the number is reasonable you can draw a
conclusion that the software is capable of solving your process problem. 

  1. Number of Positive Reviews

The number of positive reviews a software has is a key indicator of how
effective a tool is. When using reviews, make sure the review is analyzed on
comparative basis. i.e business modelling tool of similar-sized users should
be compared to one another before decision is made.

  1. Customer Care Relationship

How quickly does the provider respond to an inquiry? No matter how good
the user interface is; it’s important that you select a tool where the
organization responds efficiently to customers’ inquiry. 

  1. How Secure is the Site?

Security is fundamental to every organization. Trade secrets need to be
protected. You must endeavor to check how secure a business modeling
tool is. Are the tools, diagrams, or document accessible onsite or in the cloud? Assuming you're using a cloud-based or intranet solution, is information passed over https or just http? Has there been any recent incidence of hacking reported? 

  1. Ease of Export and Integration

How easy is it to export documents from one tool to another? What other
software is the tool compatible with?

Does the tool easily integrate with softwares like Excel? A tool is a plus if it
can integrate with several tools.

  1. Tool Training

Does the provider have a robust training suite? Is it easy to learn how to train
other staff? Do they have support staff close to your location? Or are they
willing to deploy their staff for onsite training?

  1. How Many User Licenses Do You Need?

Some business process modeling tool limit the number of concurrent users.
Some also charge per license which can be restrictive for small companies. 
If your organization needs to deploy less or more concurrent users at a given
time then you need to choose a tool that satisfies that requirement.

  1. Return on Investment (ROI)

As a business analyst, you should be able to convince management that
deploying a particular tool will make the company create efficient process
and increase the profit of the organization. 

Chapter 8: 8 Business Process Modeling Examples

  1. Collaborative Process


  1. Order To Cash Business Process Diagram

McDonald’s Order to Cash Diagram by Creately

Online Ordering Process by Bizagi

  1. Job Recruitment Business Process Model


4.Magazine Production Process BPMN Diagram


5.Leave Request Business Process Diagram


  1. Surgery Business Process Diagram Example


  1. Simple Medical Diagnosis Business Process Model Diagram


8.Request For Quote(RFQ) Business Process Model(Diagram) Example



This guide was created to enable you to understand what business process
modeling is all about, the techniques to model a business process, and why
business process modeling is important.

It is important your business process models have a human face. A process
model without a human face will definitely lead to failure in the process as it will affect the productivity of the organization negatively.

Don’t know the right business process modeling tool to choose?

No worries. Let me send you a dead simple checklist that will
save you time and money hunting through hundreds of tool just
to get the right modeling software that saves you time and

I need to save my time and money now.

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