Making the Switch from BPMN to ProcessPlan


    05 Jan Making the Switch from BPMN to ProcessPlan

    Posted at 09:19h in ProcessPlan Features by Marquise Lane

    Moving from BPMN to ProcessPlan can be intimidating. There are no gateways, pools, swimlanes, or events! The transition could seem like you’re having to learn a new language. Luckily, ProcessPlan and BPMN have many commonalities that can help ease the transition.

    Perhaps the most important thing to remember throughout the transition is that BPMN is centered around notation and it needs an engine to execute, while ProcessPlan works like a decision tree guiding you through the processes you map out.. In BPMN you use symbols, gateways, swimlanes, etc to convey your message to the engine. In ProcessPlan, you build that same logic into your processes with tasks and responses.

    One of the toughest things to grasp when moving from BPMN to ProcessPlan is decisions. BPMN uses gateways to symbolize decision logic. Decisions in ProcessPlan are built out in a question/answer format. The photos below will help illustrate the differences.

    Exclusive XOR Gateways 

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    image 1.1


     Above we have the same scenario mapped out in ProcessPlan and BPMN. This BPMN model uses the exclusive gateway to determine the discount a customer gets on an order. The first decision that needs to be made is the percentage discount to compute. The path the process takes depends on the amount the customer spent. After that decision is made, the process flows into another exclusive gateway where the decision is whether or not to add 1 percent to the customer’s discount. After this decision is made, the final bill is created. This same process mapped out in ProcessPlan looks a bit different, but it gets the same result. In ProcessPlan, our first task asks “What is the sum of the order?”. This task has a response for each potential order amount. Once you select the appropriate order amount, you are taken to a task that tells you which discount to compute. After that task is complete, the next task asks “What type of customer is it?” ; if the response to this task is “Type A” you are taken to a task that asks you to add an extra 1 percent discount and then to the “Create Bill” task. If the response is “ordinary”, you will be taken straight to the “Create Bill” task. Both processes produce the same result with the difference being ProcessPlan’s reliance on the question and answer format to make decisions instead of gateways.

    Parallel Gateways

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    image 2.1 

    Parallel gateway behavior can easily be executed in ProcessPlan. Looking at the example above, the tasks “Deliver goods” and “Issue invoice” happen simultaneously. Where BPMN uses a parallel gateway, ProcessPlan launches two tasks from one response. In ProcessPlan, once the “Process Order” task has been completed, both the “Deliver goods” and the “Issue invoice” tasks will be launched simultaneously. Since the two simultaneously launched tasks are attached to the same response. ProcessPlan will wait until both tasks have been completed to launch the “Issue receipt” task.

    Inclusive Gateway

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    image 3.1

    Inclusive gateway behavior can be reproduced in ProcessPlan by adding a response that connects to each possible path. In the BPMN version of this process, the shipping methods could be: by air, by sea, or both. In ProcessPlan, the potential responses to the “What is the shipping method” task are: “by air”, “by sea”, or “By air and sea”. The “By air” response would launch the “Contact airlines” task, while the “By Sea” response will launch the “Contact controlpoint” task and the “By air & sea” response would launch the “Contact airlines” & “Contact Controlpoint” tasks simultaneously. Decisions like the ones illustrated above can be automated in ProcessPlan using Automated Actions. Automated Actions in ProcessPlan are very similar to the next topic of discussion: BPMN Events.


    Most events in BPMN can be replaced by Automated Actions in ProcessPlan. Each Automated Action has a trigger that is equivalent to an event that occurs in the process, an action type, and and action. There are triggers to cover everything from the start of the process to the completion of the process and action types for everything from sending emails to executing custom JavaScript code. Instead of the throwing and catching format of BPMN, Automated actions follow a when this [trigger] happens, perform this [action] format.


    BPMN uses swimlanes to indicate who is responsible for completing a task. In ProcessPlan the task is assigned to the user responsible for completing it. ProcessPlan gives users the ability to assign tasks to users dynamically, specifically, or based on the user’s role. When a ProcessPlan task is assigned to a user, that task shows up on their worklist.

    Although the transition may be scary at first, the same functionality of your BPMN diagrams can be reproduced in ProcessPlan. Hopefully this article is enough to help jumpstart your transition and get your business up and running in ProcessPlan!

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