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Appendix A_ Glossary of BPMN Terms

Diagram Object



A flow of Activities that perform organization work. In BPMN, a Process is depicted with a set of Activities, Events, Gateways, and Sequence Flow.


A business entity (e.g., a company, company division, or a customer) or a business role (e.g., a buyer or a seller) that controls or is responsible for a business process.


Pools are graphical representations of Participants. They partition a Process from other Pools/Participants. A Pool is not required to contain a Process. The Pool should be named for the Participant it represents or the Process it contains.


Lanes represent resources such as internal roles (e.g., Manager, Associate), systems (e.g., an application), or organizations (e.g., shipping, finance).


This is work that an organization performs. Activities includes Tasks and Sub-Processes (defined below). There is not an "Activity" shape.

Sequence Flow

Shows the order that Activities are performed by the Process.

  • They cannot cross Sub-Process boundaries
  • They cannot cross Pool boundaries

Message Flow

Shows communication between Participants (e.g. from the Process to a customer). Message flows cannot connect objects that are within the same Pool.


Connects text artifacts to other diagram objects.

Generic Task

Denotes where work is performed by the process.
If desired, after adding a Generic Task to the diagram, use the Diagramming Properties dialog to specify a Task type (e.g. Automated).

User Task

Denotes a task performed by a human.

Automated Task

Denotes a task that is performed without a human.

Collapsed Sub-Process

Denotes an activity that has more detail that is not visible in the diagram. Clicking the plus sign opens the additional detail.
Collapsed Sub-Processes do not contain Pools and other repository diagrams cannot link to a Collapsed Sub-Process.

Embedded Sub-Process

Denotes a Sub-Process where the Sub-Process tasks are shown directly inside the activity.
Sub-Processes can have Ad-Hoc, Transaction, Compensable, and Repeat Type properties set. See the BPMN specification for details.

Call Activity

An activity that links to another diagram within the repository.

Exclusive Gateway

Divergence: Represents a decision where the flow can takes one of two alternative paths.
Convergence: Multiple sequence flows can also enter an Exclusive Gateway. If there is only one sequence flow exiting the shape then uncheck "Decision" in the shape Diagramming Properties dialog.

Parallel Gateway

Divergence: Used to create parallel process flow.
Convergence: When multiple sequence flows enter a Parallel Gateway, the flow is synchronized and does not continue until both flows have entered the Gateway.

Generic Event

By default, this Event is added to the diagram without a specific behavior. In the BPMN terminology, this shape is equivalent to the "None" Event.

Start Event

Denotes the beginning of a process. It's good practice to begin and finish a flow with Start and End Events. To be BPMN compliant, if a Start shape is used then an End shape must also be used.

End Event

Denotes the end of a process. It is automatically drawn with a thick border.

Timer Event

Denotes waiting time in a process flow.

Message Send

Within a flow, this shape denotes an event that sends a message. At the end of a flow, the shape denotes where the process sends a message to another process.

Message Receive

Can start a process when a message is received from another participant (e.g. via message line from a Pool). Within a flow, the shape denotes where the process waits to receive a message.

Terminate Event

This event immediately ends all flows through the process. Because this terminates all processing this event should be used sparingly. Typically the End Event is used to end a process flow.


An iGrafx property that provides supplemental documentation on a shape. Notes can be used to describe an activity procedure.

Text Object:


Provides additional information about the process flow.



An iGrafx object, a comment added to a specific location on a diagram. Annotations can be used for making remarks during a review or approval cycle.

See the Enterprise Objects and Folders topic in the User Guide for definitions of iGrafx repository objects.


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