An Activity is a step in a process that performs the work.  It can be:

  • atomic – that is, the activity performs a single action
  • compound – the activity can be a set of atomic or compound activities; including events, gateways, and all other BPMN constructs.  It can have subproceses (hierarchical), each of which can have subprocesses…

An Activity can have variables (properties); assign values; and, make decisions based on their values.  These are not shown in a business process diagram, but the notation includes them in its object model to facilitate mapping to BPEL.


Click on the images to enlarge the diagrams

See more on Loops: sequential and parallel processing; ‘while’; and, ‘do until

Here we have an example of the notation used to represent Exception Handling in the process ‘enrol student’:

Here we have an example of the notation used to represent Compensation in the process ‘reserve pool table’:

The diagrams above were created in MS Visio, using a stencil I created for activities and other stencils containing the notation used in Events, Gateways and Sequential Flow – altogether, this makes it easier to draft models in Visio.  The original notation I used in my stencils were sourced from some good guys at bpmresearch and I refined them a little for my own purpose. In the spirit of open source (!) I also provide my stencil here for BPMN Activity in Colour and BPMN Activity in Black and White, (simply save the zip file to your desktop, unzip the file and copy the new .vss file to your My Shapes folder – then, open MS Visio and go to File > Shapes > Open stencil… Select the new .vss and open it. Voila!)

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Originally published: Monday, March 22nd, 2010 at 23:50 in Industrialism, Modeling

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