No Ambiguity, Only Surprises

Scott Francis
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There are some interesting observations I had coming out of bpmNEXT that didn’t fit neatly into the summary blog post.

During ITP Commerce’s presentation at bpmNEXT, they talked at some length about the notion of style in BPMN, and a key issue being vagueness – the hardest to determine.  When you’re modeling for business-user understanding, there’s often a fair amount of vagueness in the model – of ambiguity.  And that’s not entirely bad- because it simplifies the explanation of the model.

But it occurred to me – when you’re modeling for execution, there’s no ambiguity, only surprises!

Because at execution time, a BPMN engine will always resolve in a deterministic way – the model isn’t “ambiguous” to the execution engine, it is specific.  So what’s left?  Surprises – the difference between what the execution model does, and what the modeler thought it would do.

So if you’re modeling BPMN for execution – keep that in mind.  There’s no ambiguity when you’re done – but if you aren’t careful, there may be surprises!