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BPMN: Seeking Indirection

Blog: Method & Style (Bruce Silver)

A frequent complaint about BPMN is that it cannot adequately describe many common business process scenarios, particularly when all possible flow paths are not known in advance. Actually, it can handle a good number of those, but many fall into a “gray area” – patterns that may or may not be technically allowed, depending on your interpretation of the spec. One of those scenarios concerns variant forms of an activity. If activity A has only two or three variants, the modeling is straightforward: You just have a gateway that branches to variant X, variant Y, and variant Z, each shown explicitly as a separate activity in the diagram.

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