bpmNEXT: A great forum for BPMN & Co

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We haven’t been blogging on this page for a long time now. Don’t worry, BPMN is not dead. Not at all. He have all just been very busy blogging through other channels, e.g. the Effektif blog. BPMN is alive as never before!

Last week, I attended the bpmNEXT conference in California. It was like a think tank for BPM. All important BPM vendors presented their latest technology and products. Of course, Signavio was also present. For all the details of the presentations, Sandy Kemsley’s blog is a great reference.

From a BPMN perspective, it was interesting to see that every single presentation that showed a process diagram, showed that process in BPMN. This is a clear sign, that all the effort we put into this process modeling standard, actually paid off. BPMN is not just a vision or great concept any more. BPMN is the reality in all major BPM products.

Signavio BPMN at bpmNEXT

Personally, I was very happy to contribute our vision on how to lower the barriers to BPMN. I not only showed our QuickModel feature for building a first BPMN diagram through a spreadsheet-oriented interface. But I also showcased our voice-based input mode for BPMN as well as a gesture-based control for the graphical BPMN editor.

At Signavio we are pushing the technical limits to process modeling. We want to make BPMN accessible for everybody. Making it easy and fun to use is key to achieve that.

bpmn.info: Das BPMN 2.0-Forum

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Gestartet als Blog rund um das Thema Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), steht bpmn.info nun vor einer größeren Veränderung: Unter dieser URL erreichen Sie in Kürze ein deutschsprachiges BPMN-Forum.

Als gemeinsame Initiative von camunda, Signavio und dem Hasso-Plattner-Institut richtet sich das neue bpmn.info an alle BPMN 2.0-Interessierten. Einsteiger können sich über spezielle Tutorials in BPMN einarbeiten. Außerdem können die Forums-Teilnehmer Fragen rund um die Verwendung von BPMN diskutieren.

Besonders an dem Forum ist, dass man direkt online Prozsesmodelle erstellen und in die Diskussionen einbinden kann. Dies ist möglich dank der Signavio-Technologie.

Zunächst wird es eine Closed-Beta-Phase geben, in der nur eine begrenzte Anzahl von Nutzern auf das Forum zugreifen kann. Wenn Sie daran teilnehmen möchten, schreiben Sie bitte eine kurze Email mit dem Stichwort “bpmn.info” an info@bpmn.info. Ab Mitte Juli kann sich jeder, der über einen bpm-netzwerk-Account verfügt, einloggen und mitdiskutieren. Die neuesten Diskussionen werden jeweils auf bpm-netzwerk eingeblendet.

The new BPMN 2.0 poster – free download

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BPMN 2.0 PosterThe BPMN 2.0 Poster gives a good overview of all diagram types and modeling constructs of the new version of the popular standard.

It was created by the Berlin BPM initiative and can be downloaded free of charge in pdf format and in multiple languages: http://bpmb.de/poster.

If you are located in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, you can also have a copy in A1 format shipped to you – free of charge. This service is brought to you by camunda and Signavio, while stocks last.

Order your free copy here:

Tutorials on BPMN 2.0 – Now at BPMN-Community.org

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While BPMN2.0 will take some time to get finalized, the modeling part of it is already implemented thanks to an initiative spawned by Signavio and the Oryx-Project. That enables you to get your hands on the next version of BPMN. Whenever you create a model in the community, it will be a BPMN2.0 collaboration diagram. That means you can use BPMN2.0 in your discussions, e.g. around best practice modeling.

Naturally, little public knowledge exists about the use of BPMN2.0 elements in diagrams. We’re here to change that! We just extended the tutorials section. Tutorials are designed to get modelers started with BPMN and they now also cover all new elements. Markus Guentert summarized the BPMN2.0 content in a forum post.

Go ahead and enjoy modeling at BPMN-Community.

BPMN 2.0 – a sneak preview

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The BPMN 2.0 standard has entered its finalization phase. The first books about it have already been written, for instance by Bruce Silver (in English) and by Jakob Freund (in German). First big events have already taken place, for instance the BPMN 2.0 evening organized by the Berlin BPM Initiative. Now the time has come for the tool vendors. They have to deliver the implementations. The last contradictions and bugs in the spec can only be identified by putting the many details into software.

To date, no tool vendor has presented a BPMN 2.0 solution to a broader audience. This is not surprising as the release date of the standard is still many months ahead of us. However, many development departments are busy producing code in this direction.

BPMN 2.0 Conversation Diagram

The two new diagram types, namely conversation diagrams and choreographies, are among the challenges of a BPMN 2.0 implementation. New diagram types means new constructs and connection rules. It can be expected that many vendor will refuse to implement it all and rather focus on extending the well known process/collaboration diagrams. An additional event symbol here – an additional attribute there. The standardization body behind BPMN 2.0 anticipated this: So called conformance classes define which parts of the spec must be implemented by a tool and which not.

Even more interesting than having two addition diagram types is another topic: Consistency between diagrams. While diagrams were often considered in isolation from each other in BPMN 1.x (except for process hierarchies that could be established through the subprocess mechanism), BPMN 2.0 follows a multi-perspective approach. For instance, the structure defined in a conversation diagram is refined through choreographies and collaboration diagrams. Therefore, the models are a lot more related than before. Tools that treat diagrams as isolated documents will have a serious problem here. If relationships between models cannot be maintained, then ensuring consistency will be left to the talented modeler.

BPMN 2.0 Choreography DiagramThere are good news for all those of you who can’t wait to experiment with BPMN 2.0. The tool vendor Signavio closely collaborates with the Hasso-Plattner-Institute regarding the implementation of BPMN 2.0. This new editor is released in the context of the BPM Academic Initiative and made available to the academic community (and of course to the BPMN 2.0 evangelization crowd). That way, people can evaluate it over the next months.

Realizing all modeling constructs, syntax rules and attributes in the editor – that’s the ambitious goal. Syntax checking will locate errors. As a next step, the standardized serialization format will be added. The lack of such an interchange format was one of the big weaknesses of BPMN 1.x. Let’s see how strictly the different vendors are going to respect it.

BPMN 2.0 Collaboration DiagramYou can get a good first impression of the BPMN 2.0 editor using this screencast. It shows all three diagram types and how elements can be linked with each other using the glossary functionality. If you are interested in playing around with it yourself, you can log into the academic modeling platform. This initiative will be launched in the context of the BPM 2009 conference in Ulm on September 8. The two main developers behind the BPMN 2.0 editor, namely Sven Wagner-Boysen and Philipp Giese, are already looking forward to the feedback of the first users.

More details about the BPM Academic Initiative: At www.signavio.com/academic and in this blog entry:

Watch BPMN 2.0 Screencast

BPMN 2.0 on YouTube

Summing up BPM’09

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BPM’09 in Ulm was great. Thanks to Sandy Kemsley it was also well covered in the blogosphere. That allows me to point out my personal highlights and link to her posts for further reading.

  • John Hoogland – Change in Control (keynote)
    My favorite keynote. It was honest, humble, and enlightening. He contrasted the marketing blah of the BPM vendors with the reality he sees (and we all know). Most insightful, even with the most advanced customers they roll out 2-5 process updates per year. That’s process agility in 2009.
  • Discovering Process Models from unlabelled event logs (Conference Talk)
    A fundamental assumption for process mining is that the event log contains case IDs. That means, you may log information in your system but only if the log entry refers to the process instance you can make sense of it. Diogo Ferriera showed a technique to overcome this limitation. Impressive scientific contribution and presentation-wise my favorite talk at BPM’09.
  • Process Model comprehension: a human view (Tutorial)Hajo Reijers and Jan Mendling condensed their know-how in a 1.5h presentation (called tutorial) that was attracting even more people than the main conference track (in parallel). Increadibly valuable and well covered by Sandy. In short, read the Seven Process Modeling Guidelines (Table 2, page 19).

Summing up, BPM was a great event to learn, meet, discuss and find ground for collaboration. For example, we learned how people use our Oryx Editor in their research projects and how they would like to use it in future work. We are committed to support that. If you’d like to use, embedd or extend Oryx in your research project. Let us know, join the Google Group. You are invited to ask questions. Don’t wait until the next BPM.

Warming up for BPM’09

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It was quite here in the last months but this will change soon. Next week is BPM conference in Ulm. This annual research gathering is a great chance to meet people, share ideas and discuss the next big thing.

We also have some stuff to throw into the discussion so stay tuned for the news to come or talk to us at BPM’09.

BPM 2.0 – Participatory process modeling with BPMN

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Alex reported on the BPMN-community in the previous post. This platform enables process modeling experts and people interested in BPMN to share their experience across the boundaries of organizations. Modeling experts, often being the only ones in their organization with this expertise, meet like-minded people on this platform.

The fact that there are only few modeling experts in an organization often leads to a problem: Process models are not paid enough attention to, they are not integrated enough into the true process innovation cycle. In contrast to this, process modeling should ideally take place where process innovation happens. Team leaders and employees have good ideas. Customers and suppliers have improvement suggestions for the processes.

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You are a BPMN Modeler? – Here is your Community!

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We teach BPMN face to face. We answer questions by students, domain experts, modeling experts, and IT professionals. BPMN is definitely emerging and so are the questions that arise around it. We’ve done quite some effort to spread the word and gather knowledge. We think it is time to involve everybody in knowledge creation around BPMN.

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IBM produces Serious Game to promote BPM

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In the context of our research we recently discussed a serious game to communicate BPM knowledge. Now I learned about IBM’s Innov8 project. An adventure in which you have to ‘align your actions with the management strategy’ and ‘streamline your processes’. If anything, they know how to advertise it. I simply love the trailer.

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