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Appendix B_ BPMN Basics

Naming Conventions

There are no official BPMN naming conventions, but here are some best practices:

For all objects:

  • Use keywords that are meaningful to the organization
  • Do not use uncommon abbreviations
  • Do not use the object type in its name
  • Avoid articles and pronouns


  • Name them all
  • Name them with a Verb-Noun phrase {e.g. "Enter Order")
  • Use the present tense of an active verb of meaning to the organization
  • Use a qualified noun of meaning to the organization
  • Do not name multiple Activities with the same name (except for Call Activities)


  • Gateways do not perform any work or make decisions; they simply depict the divergence or convergence of flow
  • Do not name converging Gateways
  • Associate a Text Artifact when convergence logic is not obvious
  • Name diverging Exclusive Gateways with an interrogative phrase (e.g. "Is Order Large")

Sequence Flows

  • Name Sequence flows coming out of diverging Gateways using their associated conditions stated as outcomes (e.g. "Less than $1,000", "$1000 & More")


  • All Events should be named
  • Name Message Events with a past participle using an active verb
  • Name Timer Events using their schedule
  • Name End Events using the name of the end state


  • Name Pools using the Participant's name or Process name


  • Name Lanes using roles (e.g., Manager), systems (e.g., an application), or organizations (e.g., shipping)

BPMN Best Practices

Process Scope

  • Clearly define the scope of the Process by identifying the Who, What, When, Where and Why of your process (the Process is the How)
  • Identify the potential alternative ways to trigger the Process using Start Events
  • Identify the potential alternative end states of the instances of the Process using End Events

Diagram layouts

  • Aim for BPMN Diagrams that fit one page
  • Layout your BPMN Diagrams neatly to ease readability by minimizing flow crossing
  • Use consistent layout with horizontal Sequence Flows and vertical Message Flows
  • BPMN Diagrams can loop back but most readers expect a left-to-right ordering
  • Do not create zigzag layouts of elements
  • It should be clear what the primary ("Happy") path of the Process is
  • Whenever possible, externalize the business rules from the Process to create more concise and more agile Process models using Business Rule Tasks
  • Create alternative visualizations of the same Process for different communication purposes and stakeholders. For example:
    • A summary Diagram with all Sub-Processes and Call Activities collapsed
    • A verbose Diagram with all Sub-Processes and Call Activities expanded

Process Partitioning and Structure

  • To describe Process in-depth, use Collapsed Sub-Processes to define hierarchical Process layers of detail
  • Use Call Activities to re-use other Processes

Start and End Events

  • Always use Start and End Events
  • Distinguish alternative instantiation of the process as separate Start Events
  • Distinguish various end states as separate End Events
  • Flows that end in the same end state should be merged to the same End Event


  • Always use Gateways to depict split or merge of flows
  • Do not use mixed mode Gateways (both diverging and converging)
  • Always place an Activity that will determine the diverging condition(s) just before a diverging Gateway

Manual, Automated and Semi-automated Tasks

  • Use a Manual Task to depict work effort expected to be performed without the aid of any software application
  • Use a User Task to depict semi-automated work effort where a human performer uses a software application to complete the Task
  • Use an Automated Task to depict word done by a system or application
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