Bruce Silver's Method and Style

  • October 13, 2010
  • Scott
  • 1 Comments

Bruce Silver is the gold standard for BPMN modeling training.  He also often gets the last word on subjects relating to BPMN:

All of the recent to-do from Jim Sinur and others about how business people don’t want to be constrained by no stinkin’ rules is just one side of the story.  The people who come to me for training have a different view.  They say, “We have lots of groups in the company doing process modeling.  But everyone does it their own way, and the models can’t be shared or integrated with each other.  So a lot of our investment in process modeling so far can’t really be leveraged.”

Bruce goes on to describe, quite eloquently, what I believe is one of the chief attractions of BPMN:

The value of the hierarchical style is that you can visually understand the end-to-end process (and its touchpoints with the global environment) on one page, and zoom in and out to see detail at any level… all within the confines of a single semantic model. It reflects what could be called an “architectural” approach to process modeling, the way business architects and enterprise architects like to think about it. In contrast, the traditional approach, creating separate high-level and detailed models, requires continual manual synchronization as the model(s) evolve over time.

Not everyone sees the value in the single semantic model.

I’ve also seen value in building process models for several related processes (a process cluster, if you will), and then rationalizing these individual processes with a larger conceptual process that contains and incorporates them all.  The rationalizing often uncovers interesting corner cases and use cases that weren’t previously well thought-out- and also uncovers serious opportunities for re-use at the implementation level.  This approach more frequently happens in BPM projects that evolve into programs, but can also happen within the context of a program that explicitly decides not to try to tackle the (admittedly) harder problem of having all the processes within a cluster participate in the larger process and so they get their feet wet with processes in isolation at first.

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