BPMN Diagrams – Intermediate Multiple Events

bpmn diagram

We can simplify BPMN Diagrams with intermediate multiple events. These events are combinations of different intermediate events, much like complex gateways combine different gateways.

Background

We presented an introduction to BPMN diagrams in July. Business analysts are often required to document as-is processes and to-be processes. These diagrams help identify the scope of a software project. The diagrams can also help uncover requirements that might be overlooked without diagramming the processes.

The BPMN specification is designed to establish a common language and convention for creating process diagrams. This common convention allows people who are familiar with modeling, but new to a project to avoid learning a new diagramming language on each project or for each client. We have a link to the official version of the spec in our introductory post (we will update that link if and when the spec changes).

Intermediate events are one of the more unfamiliar items in the BPMN language. They also allow for some of the cleanest, unambiguous expressions of steps in business processes.

Multiple Different Intermediate Events

In our previous example of the business process model for a day trader, we had two different intermediate events that could create exception flow from the second “Watch Stock” task. An intermediate rule event was used to prevent excessive losses or lock in a target gain on the stock transaction. An intermediate timer event was used to force the day trader to sell the stock at the end of the day, if he had not already done so.

bpmn intermediate event example

Simpify With An Intermediate Multiple Event

We can combine the two intermediate events from the previous diagram (the rule intermediate event and the timer intermediate event) into a single multiple intermediate event.

bpmn intermediate multiple event example

In this bpmn example, we’ve also added the possibility of receiving a message from the boss requesting that we sell the stock. We have replaced three intermediate events (rule, timer, and message) with a single intermediate event (multiple).

Summary

The multiple intermediate event can be used to consolidate more than one intermediate events into a single entity in the diagram.

5 thoughts on “BPMN Diagrams – Intermediate Multiple Events

  1. Hi!
    I got the link to your blog from Sandy Kemsley’s blog. I work as a Business Analyst and have managed to successfully use BPMN for modeling processes at a couple of client projects. Are you aware of any estimation model for estimating the efforts in a process modeling exercise? If not a formal model, can you please comment on some parameters (perhaps the process complexity, the analyst’s familiarity of the domain,level of existing documentation etc.) that can be used to arrive at the efforts required in mapping processes?

  2. Soumya,

    Welcome to Tyner Blain, and thanks for reading and commenting! I actually posted an article about that last week – Estimating the documentation of an as-is process.

    For a to-be process, I would quickly comment that it will take as much time as you allocate. Greater time = greater depth of analysis. Less time = shallow analysis. Depending on the goals of the migration project, you will lean towards one or the other. To-be process modeling/documentation can take anywhere from 50% of the as-is time to 500% or more. You have to reverse the approach for to-be, and budget an amount of time, then do as much optimization/invention as you can within that box.

  3. The following comment is from Mike, who emailed me offline. Sorry about the difficulties in posting a comment Mike, thanks VERY much for making the extra effort!

    Hi Scott,

    I tried to leave a comment on your Intermediate Multiple Events article, but got a wordpress error.

    This is what I tried to post:

    Thanks for your informative series of articles on BPMN.
    I do however have some problems with Day Trader diagram:

    * The “Watch Stock” task is duplicated and with different outcomes. Just an inconsistency which can be easily resolved.
    * The “Watch Stock” task(s) have multiple exit flows. Is this “legal” or should they go through some Gateway?
    * The Day Trader process can end, as it stands, directly from Watch Stock immediately, now, or never.

    I do not mean to be hyper-critical – just pointing out that is not always easy to get these things right. Maybe some tool to check diagrams for “syntax errors” would be useful.

    I offer my view – attached – of the Day Trader process which resolves the inconsistencies as I see them. (Thanks for the Visio template!)
    By the way, my view of the process allows Day Traders to short stocks too.

    BPMN is new to me, and I have probably made mistakes too!

    Anyway, thanks again, and feel free to use my diagram in any way you like.

    Mike

    [Scott again: Here’s the link to Mike’s improved version: http://sehlhorst.smugmug.com/photos/215288891-O.gif ]

  4. Thanks to everybody in Tynerblain for understand better BPMN mainly about the intermediate events with examples.

    I work as a project leader and my company is implemented BPMN.

    Also we are analizing the process of “the day trader” example, but finaly our target was the use of Multiple Intermediate event.

    Greetings from Chile.

  5. Hey Mario,

    Thanks, and welcome to Tyner Blain! I hope this has been helpful for you and your team! If you see any mistakes or have any questions on any of the articles, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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