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Building flexibility into BPMN models

BPMN modeling primarily targets structured processes, often with the goal to automate as many steps as possible, increase efficiency, and decrease process execution costs. But sometimes we need ways to build flexibility into such process models to deal with expected or unexpected operational problems or to allow for humans to intervene.

Creating readable process models

We create visual process models to better understand, discuss, and remember processes. Hence, it is crucial that models are easy to read and understand. The single most important thing is to to use well-chosen labels.

Modeling beyond the happy path

First, model the happy path to the desired end result before collecting problems and exceptions, prioritizing them, and introducing them incrementally. Secondly, focus on one selected issue at a time, and choose the right techniques for modeling beyond the happy path.

Modeling with situation patterns

When modeling, you will sometimes realize that some situations share common characteristics. To save work for yourself and spread such knowledge within your organization, collect and document such patterns as soon as you understand their nature and have found a satisfying solution for modeling them. For a start, we collected some typical patterns for you, which we see quite often in our modeling practice. You do not need to reinvent the wheel over and over again.