Reasoning with Taskless BPMN

Was it Lisbon that attracted me so much or the word Cybernetics in the sub-title or the promise of Alberto Manuel that it would be a different BPM conference? May be all three and more. As it happened, the conference was very well organised and indeed different. The charm of Lisbon was amplified by the nice weather, much appreciated after the long winter. As to Cybernetics, it remained mainly in the sub-title but that’s good enough if it would make more people go beyond the Wikipedia articles and other easily digestible summaries.

My presentation was about using task-free BPMN which I believe, and the results so far confirm, can have serious benefits for modelling of both pre-defined processes and those with some level of uncertainty. In addition, there is an elegant data-centric way to execute such processes using reasoners. Enterprise Architecture (EA) descriptions can be improved if done with explicit semantics. Currently, EA descriptions are isolated from the operational data and neither the former is linked with what happens, nor the latter get timely updates from the strategy. More on this in another post. Here’s the slidedeck1You can watch on YouTube the slides with animations (no voice-over) and a 7 min compilation of the talk.:

4 thoughts on “Reasoning with Taskless BPMN

  1. I was intimidated by the number of slides 42 but the contents of slides are simple and easy to understand + INTERESTING. Yet, I have not understood completely (my problem).

    I have posted my partial understanding (includes misunderstanding also) in the linked in discussion which I am copying here. I would look for some answers to help me understand better. Thanks.


    Putcha Narasimham • I am trying to understand the significance of “task-free BPMN” with reference to AA to EE.

    AA: “What” by itself is not unique.

    BB: “What to achieve—WA” is quite different from “What to do–WD”

    CC: WA is a goal or objective and is “task-free” (in the sense it is not defined in terms of tasks but tasks have to be performed).

    DD: WD is also not independent. WD must necessarily be followed by “to achieve some specific X, Y, Z” X, Y & Z may be outputs (deliverables) and or states of the system or some objects.

    EE: We need both “state” and “process” models and we need to move between them incrementally and iteratively to evolve the System to be Developed STBD.

    1 Are they valid?

    2 “what more” does the proposal “task-free BPMN” suggest? A study of the proposal may reveal the answers but those who have the right answers can help by stating them explicitly.


  2. @Putcha,

    I’m not sure I understand your questions or the areas needing clarification. Let me try to give you some explanation and I hope they will not be based on completely wrong assumption about what you are looking for.

    A process has certain objective. That should be stable in time. And probably what is defined during design time will not change in the run time, although the specific ones might (e.g. in healthcare),

    The objective normally defines one of the end states. Then you can come up with conditions to arrive or to miss the objectives. So far the process for creating the model is not strictly for end to beginning. And it’s not the opposite either. In fact it’s a very interesting journey going back and forth, full of discoveries. These discovering come when you bring together the mental models of the knowledge providers with the convention they are trying to arrive at.

    So, using Data Object, Conditional Events mainly and sometimes Timers, most of the GW and whenever need – pools and message flows, what appears is something resembling a metro map. Business people, even those like lawyers that have strong preference to text and are quite averse to diagrams, find them easy to read, way easier than BPMN standard diagrams.

    In relation to activities, you can satisfy the condition or the combination of conditions needed for certain state by following certain routine. In that case, if you need to you can – at a later stage – add sub-process between these conditions. However, when the choice of tasks during execution is at discretion of person (s) running the process, which is often the situation in case management, then it’s useless to try to reduce that variety in your design. They will not follow the diagram, nor they will use the systems in the prescribed way. What they’ll try to do is do their job, solve the problems they encounter, achieve the objective or just try to reduce the damage. In most processes in the service sector the knowledge of how is available during design time for some parts, and can’t be made available in others. Using this approach can help creating more useful models without changing the tools we currently have and without asking too much from the model users. In some cases it can be used not instead of but in addition to classical BPMN model, as top end-to-end view or as additional state/condition centric view.

  3. To understand your proposal I shared what I know so that you can relate your proposal to what I know.

    Thanks for the trouble you have taken but the gap is still significant. It seems there is no short cut to understanding. I have to struggle a lot more to understand your proposal.

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