Anatoly’s BPMN Assumptions

Scott Francis
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Part 1 of Anatoly’s BPMN assumptions postings is spot-on: “All Information is Stored“.  I thought we could add some additional context and color to his posts here.  It would be easy to read the title and misconstrue his point.  The point isn’t really that all information is stored.  The point is that you can design your process with the assumption that we’ll figure out the data storage and structures and schema later.

This is one of the hardest things to convince traditional IT specialists of – that the database schema design can wait until AFTER the process design has been roughed out (or even implemented in draft form).  As Anatoly reports it:

Later when the process will be modified, the data model will be amended as well. But don’t try combine these two aspects in one diagram – there are proven instruments for data modeling and BPMN is for the process part.

Although there are data objects and data stores in BPMN, they are a kind of “second-class citizens”: the control flows are obligatory in BPMN while the data flows are optional.

It sounds unusual for certain analysts and may even cause rejection.

Data becomes the tail to the process, rather than the dog.  Changes to process during discovery and early iterations are likely to be many – don’t overload yourself with trying to craft the perfect data design or schema before you write your process.  Why?  Because as you discover more about your process, you’ll realize your schema is missing data.  Or has extra data.  Or doesn’t have key relationships baked in, etc.

So assume the data will work out and get the process right.

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