How Much Language is Enough? Theoretical and Practical Use of the Business Process Management Notation

20th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering (CAiSE 2008), Montpellier, France, June 16-20, 2008.

15 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2012  

Michael zur Muehlen

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

Jan Recker

Queensland University of Technology

Date Written: March 14, 2008

Abstract

The Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is an increasingly important industry standard for the graphical representation of business processes. BPMN offers a wide range of modeling constructs, significantly more than other popular languages. However, not all of these constructs are equally important in practice as business analysts frequently use arbitrary subsets of BPMN. In this paper we investigate what these subsets are, and how they differ between academic, consulting, and general use of the language. We analyzed 120 BPMN diagrams using mathematical and statistical techniques. Our findings indicate that BPMN is used in groups of several, well-defined construct clusters, but less than 20% of its vocabulary is regularly used and some constructs did not occur in any of the models we analyzed. While the average model contains just 9 different BPMN constructs, models of this complexity have typically just 4-5 constructs in common, which means that only a small agreed subset of BPMN has emerged. Our findings have implications for the entire ecosystems of analysts and modelers in that they provide guidance on how to reduce language complexity, which should increase the ease and speed of process modeling.

Keywords: BPMN, Process Modeling, Language Analysis

Suggested Citation

zur Muehlen, Michael and Recker, Jan, How Much Language is Enough? Theoretical and Practical Use of the Business Process Management Notation (March 14, 2008). 20th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering (CAiSE 2008), Montpellier, France, June 16-20, 2008.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2038665

Michael Zur Muehlen (Contact Author)

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business ( email )

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States
2012168293 (Phone)

Jan Recker

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

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