I’ve come across the concerns of Keith Swenson and Anatoly Belychook on the missing expressive power of BPMN with respect to the description of human decisions in business processes. Bruce Silver has tackled the problem too.
I (together with my research group and the WebRatio team) definitely share their concern. After some discussions, experiments, and on-the-field experiences, we decided to go the pragmatic way: we explicitly modeled the human decision (thus challenging the BPMN orthodoxy, I hope we won’t be killed for this:) according to a “proprietary” notation which is however in line with the BPMN 2.0 notation for tasks.
Concretely, we defined:
- user gateways for describing user decisions
- automatic/service gateways for describing decisions taken according to a rule (this is the standard semantics for BPMN gateways) or performed by a service
To give a flavor of the idea, here are two samples from our “BPMN+” diagrams drawn in WebRatio:
- User gateway (notice the small human icon)
|User Gateway in WebRatio|
- Service gateway (notice the small gear icon)
|Service Gateway in WebRatio|
We are successfully using this notation in several projects, but we would also be glad to receive some feedback from the community. Does it solve the issue discussed by the experts above? Is it so irrespective to standards?
Let us know!