Several standards have been developed around process management and process mapping. The Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) standard, for example, gives guidelines on how process flowcharts should look like and which symbols to use. The Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), however, does not describe the look-and-feel, but is is a format for the execution of processes defined.

IDEF0 is an older process mapping standard that used different symbols than the now popular BPMN standard in use. It organizes flowcharts as hierarchical series of diagrams. It has earned its right to exist through the Air Force ICAM project, and was largely used to describe systems in technical environments.

OPF2 (Open Process Framework) is another meta-model for describing software and engineering processes and it uses a rather technical notation system to visualize the design of the process. However, the aim of process design is not only to make the process designs executable, but also for those involved in the process to be able to look and study the process and understand their place in the whole chain of events. Because both IDEFO an OPF2 are more technical in their approach, they are thus more difficult to grasp for non-technical people.

Not all the process models and standards are aimed at describing processes that link systems together that can be executed automatically. Most of the processes around us have a human touch to it and require some human interaction. If humans are to understand the actions they have to perform in order to fulfill their role in the process, it is essential that they understand the process. The process mapping method and BPMN notation help clarifying workflows by using easy to understand symbols and notations that everyone involved can understand.


Sjoerd Jan Ter Welle – Sjoerd Jan is CEO of Brightt55 which develops business process- and project management software. Sjoerd Jan lives with his family in the small historical city …
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Business process modelling