Author Topic: Data objetc reuse in BPMN?  (Read 2888 times)

apaivala

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Data objetc reuse in BPMN?
« on: July 10, 2017, 05:49:57 pm »
Hi all,

I am pretty new EA user (Master some basics, but nothing advanced yet and still lot of things to learn). Currently I am using it mostly for business process modeling/ BPMN. I started with EA12 but I just updated it to EA13.

My goal is to model our engineering and other business processes and currently I am working on the use of particular data or different versions of it in different business processes across the company. I have tried to make sense of re-using data objects by watching the webinars of Frank Truyen and searching from this forum and the internet. And I basically understand that by using data objects and dataObjectReference I should be able to refer to a certain data and re-use it in my processes.

But I still have difficulties in actually using this concept in my models. I have already done the following:
- Created a model library (for the needed data I created a package called "Data Objects")
- Created a structure for my business processes (process chart, processes and sub-processes)
- Defined the first draft of process activities and data objects used or produced in the processes

Now in my business model I try to re-use a certain dataObject (call it "Contract A"). I make sure it refers to the dataObject "Contract" in the model library (by using dataObjectRef). I would have expected that I would now be able to centrally control the changes to "Contract A" but nothing seems to happen. For me it looks more like manual copy & paste style of work instead of fancy modeling.

So my questions are:
1. How should I use the dataObjects and dataObjectReferences in order use them in a meaningful and useful way?
2. How can I actually define different states for a data object in a process? (As I should be able to do according to the BPMN spec, if've understood it right)

So could you please help me out with this? This might be a really basic rookie mistake, so maybe the answer is quite easy too. :)

With many thanks,

Aleksi

Richard Freggi

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Re: Data objetc reuse in BPMN?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 12:29:21 pm »
Hello Aleksi
if you use UML sequence diagrams instead of BPMN to model your processes, the sequence diagram participants can be data objects.  It's super-easy to a) reuse these participants to generate new business processes, b) generate an object (or class) diagram showing the data structures that support your processes, c) use the class diagram to design a database if you need one to support the processes, and d) use the class diagram to write application software if you need one.

What I'm saying is, BPMN can be tweaked to do what you want to do, but it was not designed to be used this way.  For more info you can see the OMG web pages on BPMN (=a process-centric notation, not an object oriented notation).

Cheers

Richard

apaivala

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Re: Data objetc reuse in BPMN?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 05:59:46 am »
Hello Richard,

Thank you for your reply! In other words, you would suggest not using BPMN at all? Unfortunately I am afraid that I do not have that option. :) Guidelines and compatibility requirements from the mother company require me to use BPMN this time. However, I must confess that data modeling is not in the core of modeling in this case. I would be perfectly satisfied, if I could:

a) Define three states for every document produced in a project (e.g. draft, final, reviewed)
b) Avoid entering all attributes for all data objects completely manually
c) Re-use data objects in different stages of the process (here we talk about quite limited amount of process phases, as we are a project organisation and follow traditional Systems Engineering V Model principles in our processes. So I might even do it manually should it otherwise be too time-consuming.)

So I believe that although BPMN may not be optimal, I might still use it (if not proved very unpractical).

You said:
Quote
What I'm saying is, BPMN can be tweaked to do what you want to do

Could you please give some idea what kind of tweaking you are in practice talking about? Maybe I would try that if it would be at least somehow feasible?

Cheers,

Aleksi

qwerty

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Re: Data objetc reuse in BPMN?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 06:50:54 am »
BPMN is just an UML dialect and probably nothing can restrict you from using the base of BPMN too.

q.

Geert Bellekens

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Re: Data objetc reuse in BPMN?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 05:06:41 pm »
I just quickly checked the BPMN specs and I think dataobjects are allowed to have properties (attributes), but they are not visualized on any BPMN diagrams.

Anyway, BPMN is not the best notation for data modelling. Any serious data modelling is usually done in UML.

Geert

Richard Freggi

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Re: Data objetc reuse in BPMN?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 12:33:40 am »
Hi QWERTY,
I seem to remember that BPMN is not a profile or 'dialect' of UML although it looks similar to activity diagrams.  I think it has different origins (graphical programming using service classes or some such...).  I'm sure other experts can comment (I only know a little because I had to learn it for a project but did not continue using it after that)

Aleksi, I seem to remember from when I was learning BPMN that you can sort of map the messages of BPMN to data structures (I seem to remember that it was not an exact mapping, but again I'm no expert...).  I'll ask some people more knowledgeable than me... I'll post again if I get an answer!

qwerty

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Re: Data objetc reuse in BPMN?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 01:01:33 am »
OMG (The UML Guys) has published an UML Profile for BPMN. If UML has not been BPMN's father/mother it's apparent that OMG makes it at least stepfather/-mother.

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Eve

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Re: Data objetc reuse in BPMN?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 09:00:53 am »
Richard is correct, when the OMG created BPMN, they created it as a separate metamodel instead of a UML profile as they did for many others like SysML. A later effort created a UML profile for a subset of BPMN.
Eve

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