Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 2.0 is a standard for graphically representing business process models.

Credit: Some content from https://www.drawio.com/blog/bpmn-2-0

This mind map describes the elements of BPMN 2.0 along with rules and naming conventions. Click the image for the full-size version.

Credit: This mind map was created with content from https://www.bpmnquickguide.com/

BPMN v2.0 mind map.



  • A BPMN Diagram depicts a subset (which may be complete) of a BPMN Process Model.
    • A BPMN Diagram is not a dataflow diagram.
  • A BPMN Model may contain one or more BPMN Business Processes.
    • A BPMN Model may be depicted using multiple Diagrams.
A sample BPMN 2.0 order process.
  • Orchestration, Collaboration & Choreography
    • Orchestration models a Process within a single business entity and is presented by a Pool.
    • Collaboration models the communication between business entities across Pool boundaries.
    • A single BPMN Diagram can represent both Orchestration and Collaboration.
    • Choreography models the interaction between Roles, focusing on the Message flow between two or more Roles.
Two diagrams depicting orchestration vs. choreography.

Activities A BPMN 2.0 activity.

  • Activities are Tasks or Sub-processes.
  • Call Activities — use these to re-use other Processes.
  • Sub-Processes split a Process into “phases”.
    • A Start Event in a Sub-process must be of type None.
  • Tasks — the basic steps taken by Roles.
    • Use Manual Task to depict work performed without the aid of any software application.
    • Use User Task to depict semi-automated work where a human performer uses a software application to complete the Task.
    • Use Service Task to depict automated work.

Naming Conventions

  • All Activities must be named with a verb-noun phrase.
    • Use the present tense of an active verb of meaning to the business.
    • Use a qualified noun of meaning to the business.
  • Activities other than Call Activities cannot have the same name.

Data Objects

  • Data Objects are databases and documents or data generated from a Task.

Naming Conventions

  • All Data Objects must be named with a qualified noun that is the name of a business object or information object of meaning to the business.
  • Name multiple instances of the same Data Object using a matching name followed by the applicable State in square brackets.

Events A BPMN 2.0 event.

  • Events are things that occur within the flow of an Activity.
  • Boundary Events
    • Must have at most one outgoing Sequence Flow.
    • Must not have any incoming Sequence Flows.
  • End Events
    • Distinguish various end states as separate End Events.
    • Flows that end in the same end state merge to the same End Event.
  • Start Events
    • Distinguish alternative instantiation of the process as separate Start Events.

Naming Conventions

  • All Events must be named.
  • Conditional Events — name these with their trigger condition.
  • End Events — name these with the name of the end state.
  • Link Events — name these with a noun.
  • Message, Signal, Escalation and Error Events — name these with a past participle using an active verb.
  • Paired Message, Link, Signal, Escalation, and Error Events — name these with a matching name.
  • Timer Events — name these with their schedule.

Flows A BPMN 2.0 flow.

  • Association Flows are laid out vertically.
  • Data Association Flows are laid out vertically.
  • Message Flows depict the communication that happens between two different Pools or Participants with a dotted line.
    • At the source, the connector has a round head. At the destination, the connector is an unfilled triangle.
    • Cannot connect objects that are within the same Pool.
    • Are laid out vertically.
  • Sequence Flows connect Tasks, Events, and Gateways, always in order of execution.
    • Are used to show the order that Activities are performed in a process.
    • Cannot cross Sub-process boundaries.
    • Cannot cross Pool boundaries.
    • Are laid out horizontally.
  • Messages
    • Use a Message Event if the sending or receiving of the Message is instantaneous.
    • Use a Message Task if the sending or receiving of the Message can be interrupted.

Naming Conventions

  • Sequence Flows connect Tasks
    • Name Sequence Flows coming out of diverging Gateways of type Exclusive, Inclusive and Complex using their associated conditions stated as outcomes.
    • Name Conditional Sequence Flows using their associated conditions stated as outcomes.
    • Do not name Default Sequence Flows.

Gateways A BPMN 2.0 gateway.

  • Gateways are decision points and branching or merging of Flows. Can be exclusive (or), inclusive (and/or), parallel (and), or event-based.
  • Gateways are either converging or diverging (but not both).
  • Gateways are decision points, not decisions:
    • They do not make decisions; they only direct flow.
    • Decision outcome (diverging conditions) must be determined in an Activity after the Gateway.
  • Use a Business Rule Task instead of multiple, chained diverging Gateways.

Naming Conventions

  • Converging
    • Do not name these.
    • Use a text annotation when converging logic is not obvious.
  • Diverging
    • Name exclusive diverging Gateways with an interrogative phrase.


  • Pools are whole organizations or collections of associated Roles.

Naming Conventions

  • Name these using the Role’s name.
  • Do not use the Process name (in BPMN, a Pool is always a depiction of a Role).


  • Roles are unique participants in a Process.

Naming Conventions

Name these using a qualified noun or noun phrase.


  • Swimlanes represent unique Roles in a Process.

Naming Conventions

  • Are often used to categorize elements by Roles.
  • Name these using the Category’s name.