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What is the difference between an interrupting event and non-interrupting event in BPMN?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 63757 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)


To understand the difference between a BPMN Interrupting Event and a BPMN Non-interrupting Event it is best to first understand the definition of a boundary event.

A boundary event is an event shown on an activity boundary that can be triggered or thrown at any time while the associated task or activity is being performed.  Below, a Timer boundary event is shown.  Some boundary events are time based while others are based on a condition which must resolve to ‘True’ in order for that branch of the flow to proceed.

BPMN Boundary Event

When an activity is being performed and a boundary event is triggered or thrown, a token is sent along the path defined by the boundary event.  However, the  question remains as to what should happen with the existing activity that was being performed.

In the case of an Interrupting Event, the activity which was being performed will immediately be canceled.  An Interrupting Event is shown by a solid circle or two solid circles around the event icon depending on whether the event was a start event (one solid circle) or an intermediate event (two solid circles).

In the case of a Non-Interrupting Event, the activity which was being performed will continue in parallel along with the new flow that was initiated by the boundary event. The current activity will NOT be cancelled (or interrupted). A Non-Interrupting Event is shown by a dashed circle or two dashed circles around the event icon depending on whether the event was a start event (one dashed circle) or an intermediate event (two dashed circles).

You can find the BPMN Event Notation here. 



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