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Getting Started

The Business Process Model and Notation is well supported in Enterprise Architect and you can create any of the four diagrams that describe both the internal workings of an entity or the interaction of one entity with other entities. You can describe business, technology or engineering work flows and interactions. Business Process diagrams are an important technique in the Business Analyst's toolbox and are often used as part of a processes re-engineering effort.

You and your team might want to prescribe the interactions between entities using a Collaboration, Choreography or Conversation diagrams or just define or describe the Business Processes within a single entity such as an organization, division or department.

Choreography diagram describing the interaction between a doctor and a patient.

The basic Steps to create a Business Process Diagrams are:

  1. Create a Business Process diagram within the Business Process (recommended)
  2. Add Flow Objects such as Initial and Final Nodes, Activities, Tasks and Gateways.
  3. Add Pools and Lanes to segment the diagram.
  4. Validate the diagram
  5. SImulate the diagram

Within Enterprise Architect, modeling with BPMN 2.0 is well supported, quick and simple. Use these notes to guide you as you create your business models.

Selecting the Perspective

Enterprise Architect partitions the tool's extensive features into Perspectives, which ensures that you can focus on a specific task and work with the tools you need without the distraction of other features. To work with the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) features you first need to select this Perspective:

Choose perspective button.<perspective name> > Business Modeling > BPMN

Setting the Perspective ensures that the Business Process Model and Notation diagrams, their tool boxes and other features of the Perspective will be available by default.

Please note: If you select the 'BPMN' perspective, you will be using BPMN 2.0.  If you want to use BPMN 1.0 or 1.1, select the perspective 'All Business Modeling' or create your own custom perspective.

Creating a Business Process Diagram

With the BPMN perspective selected you can add a new diagram by selecting the location in the Browser window and choosing the Add Diagram option from the Context menu or from the Browser tool bar. You will be prompted to create the diagram within a Business Process which you should select as this is compliant with the BPMN grammar and ensures the diagram objects are located in a container.

You can also use some of the built-in patterns available for BPMN from the Model Patterns window to create a diagram of any type from the wizard. Spend some time reading the description of the pattern to understand the diagram and objects that will be inserted as part of the pattern.

Model Patterns window showing a basic Business Process diagram.

Adding Flow Objects to the Diagram

If you created the diagram from a pattern a number BPMN Flow Objects will be inserted in the diagram including an Initial Node a number of Activities connected by Sequence Flows and a Final Node. You can add any number of other Flow objects to the diagram dragging them from the appropriate toolbox or if you have elements for reuse you can drag them from the Browser window. Notes can be added to each of the diagram elements which can be useful when documenting the process.

BPMN Toolbox pages showing elements and connectors.

Adding Pools and Lanes

Analysts will have different opinions  but it is often easier to create the Pools and Lanes after a Business Process diagram has been laid out. You might have to move some diagram objects around to ensure they fall into the appropriate lane but some forward planning can assist with this. You can set the height and width of the Pools and Lanes and then make them non-selectable by using the option from the Behavior item on the diagram element context menu.

Diagram Object menu showing the choice to make an object selectable or non selectable.

This ensures you are able to move diagram objects around freely without inadvertently selecting and moving the Pools or their Lanes. You can make them selectable again at any time if required.