Author Topic: "Method and Style" BPMN Functionality  (Read 617 times)

George Fraser

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"Method and Style" BPMN Functionality
« on: October 16, 2014, 04:18:30 am »
Here at my organisation we're greatly appreciating the added BPMN functionality of recent EA builds, but they're something of a mixed blessing.

As an organisation we base our BPMN modelling on Bruce Silver's "Method and Style" approach, which presents us with some difficulties as Sparx EA is our tool of choice.  Under Silver's style rules, a white box pool only ever represents a top level process, and is exactly equivalent to it.  White box pools can never represent participants, although black box pools often do.

Prior to build 1110 we were forced to represent 'collapsed' business processes in collaboration diagrams as a business process element wrapped inside the corresponding pool, as messaging to 'naked' business process elements caused EA to hang.  This is now resolved, but we're finding that adding a business process element to a collaboration diagram relocates the process to that diagram's package in the project browser, which isn't ideal.

We've experimented with not using business process elements at all, and always representing a top level process as a pool.  Unfortunately it's not possible to associate a decomposition diagram with a pool, so this prevents us drilling down.  We're also concerned as to how this approach might handle the export to XML.

Fundamentally we're looking for a way to represent each individual level one process as either a pool or a business process element depending on the diagram it appears in.  

Our second main issue is that all global elements now appear to be considered as their own pool, irrespective of whether they're placed inside a pool or not.  This means it's impossible to run sequence flows into or out of global tasks and subprocesses.  I'm not entirely certain if this is a bug or a feature.  Under the BPMN specification and Silver's style rules, sequence flows to a reusable task/subprocess are permitted.

We're not happy representing every called element with a service task messaging out to the called activity/subprocess, because many of our reusable subprocesses have a potential duration of days or weeks, and thus aren't suitable to be represented by a service task.

Any suggestions or upcoming functionality that might help with these issues would be very greatly appreciated.

Simon M

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Re: "Method and Style" BPMN Functionality
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2014, 09:16:41 am »
Before I go into this too much, what build are you using?

You mentioned that prior to build 1110 you were doing things one way due to a bug, and now you're trying to do things differently, so I assume it's one of 1110, 1111 or 1112.

I would strongly recommend upgrading to at least 1111 if you are using build 1110 currently. That build attempted to be too helpful, but it ended up getting in the way. Build 1111 simplified what EA was doing and it may solve your problems.
Simon

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Jacob Vos

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Re: "Method and Style" BPMN Functionality
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2014, 03:51:54 pm »
About the pool / business process issue. Did you try the following? In EA, the properties of a pool contains 'processRef'. With 'processRef' you can refer to a business process (= Business Process element).

Following the BPMN specification (par. 9.3) by setting 'processRef' you indicate that the pool 'references' or 'contains' a process. Now I don't know what is meant with 'references', but at least 'contains' is something different than 'is'. So it's correct that in EA Pool and Business Process element aren't both a representation of the same thing.

To summarize. There is the process 'Handle Order'. You define a business process (element) with that name and a pool with that name. You link both by setting the pool's 'processRef'.

About your second issue (it would be better to have a separate thread for it): I don't recognize this. I can define global tasks and reuse them, including incoming and outgoing sequence flows. I use version 11 build 1111.

George Fraser

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Re: "Method and Style" BPMN Functionality
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2014, 08:25:32 pm »
Thanks very much for the replies.

I'm using build 1112.

Regarding process refs: as far as I was aware process refs used to not affect diagram behaviour, their effect only became relevant for executable BPMN  (That's based on a very quick question to a DT consultant, rather than rigorous testing, so I could easily be incorrect).

From the version 1111 build notes there has been fuctionality added to process refs "•Elements created inside Pools referencing a Process are now created directly inside the Process", but I'm not certain whether that's going to directly help me.