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New Post 2/9/2009 11:10 PM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster

Re: UML and BA 


BPMN is not that hard! .

Here are a few pointers:

1. Read the van der aalst patterns at (they are not using BPMN but YAWL for Yet another workflow language)

2. Read Stephen Whites attempt at replicating the 21 patterns (see Since you know UML you'll see that some of the patterns cannot be done in BPMN

3. Read "Essential Business Process Modeling" - (2005) Michael Harvey -(ISBN 0-596-00843-0)

4. Dowload Bizagi and replicate some of the patterns ( and then generate documents (you can also do the same with Enterprise Architect)

Note, Holoscentric is an excellent tool; however, their process maps are more akin to DFDs (the owners would probably shoot me, when next we meet). They now have an implementation of BPMN. Overall its a terrific tool, they doing quite well at AGIMO ( see

warm regards,


Ps. I'm not associated with EA, Holoscentric and BAPM

New Post 2/13/2009 3:27 AM
User is offline Kimbo
456 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: UML and BA 

G'day K,

thanks for the tips. The guys at the office mentioned the site and in fact I think there is a link there on the Sparx web site. Sounds like its a good resource. I'll check it out.

Don't agree with your  DFD comment about Holocentric. There is no concept of the movement of data during the pass of control between actors and activities. I suppose it looks a bit like the old DFD stuff visually though if that 's what you meant. Holocentric have done well in Canberra I think. I first came across them during a BPM contract at the ATO back in '03.

Had a quick look at the Bizagi web site. Looks like the modeller is free? Another good tip.

Thanks mate (or mate-ette)


New Post 2/18/2009 2:32 PM
User is offline Leslie
2 posts
No Ranking

Re: UML and BA 

It would be nice if we could find a common language that satisfied everyone's needs. That was the original purpose of UML, to set a common notation and set of standards for object modeling. Use Cases were added by Jacobson in a later verion. The activity diagram was an enhancment of the state transition diagram, which allowed use cases to be described graphically, as STDs did for classes.

Business use cases were added at an even later date, sometime around when the RUP was released. I do not see why UML should not be used for business modeling. It has all the tools that I need and a lot more that I don't.

The of UML was the class .. that is until Jacobson got involved and made the use case the building block from which everything else is derived.

I have never used BPMN, but from what I have seen on this site, it appears that UML is a more powerful modeling language.

Obviously it would be more efficient if all BAs used the same modeling language, that fits their needs .. I know that wasn't the original intention of UML, but I see no reason why we could not take a subset of UML and define a BPM Language from it.


New Post 2/19/2009 10:14 PM
User is offline Kimbo
456 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: UML and BA 


Of course UML does have a BPM language - activity diagrams. But I guess you mean something that will do what activity diagrams do and also what BPMN does,  and what .. etc.

Personally I'd just use activity diagrams but the place I'm at now uses BPMN. Don't care really as long as it does the job.


Melchat (sorry Kimbo) - actually I only made the post so I could show that I knew who Baldrick is. Do you watch Time bandits? He's much straighter nowadays.

New Post 2/22/2009 12:03 PM
User is offline Kendall Scott
1 posts
No Ranking

Re: UML and BA 

Not long after I started training people in how to use the UML effectively in the context of the Iconix process, I came up with term "magic triangle" to describe what seems to me a potent combination of artifacts. Specifically:

1. protypes (which includes anything that provides a picture of a UI, from a sketch on a napkin up the chain)

2. use cases (which are, of course, part of the UML)

3. domain model (made up of UML class diagrams)

Each of these pieces does something well. The combination, with each piece reflecting some things that complement the other pieces, is powerful.

So, why am I bringing this up here?

Two things. (1) There's no reason why people shouldn't learn how to write and/or use use cases because of fear of the UML. Use cases are about capturing what a system needs to do, specified in user-friendly language. (They were a part of the Unified Method early on, albeit a late addition. They've never really been a full player, partially because Dr. Jacobsen was late to the party and partially because they're, well, text-based in the context of a primarily visual langage.) (2) Class diagrams are indeed at the conceptual center of the UML, but that does NOT mean that people should be afraid of them either. They're excellent at capturing the vocabulary of a project, when expressed at the appropriate level of detail (which is to say, just names of classes). These are, in my mind, absolutely fundamental tools in the BA toolbox.

I'd say that a BA should also know his or her way around activity diagrams (UML 1.x version, at least; I have some issues with UML 2.x activity diagrams, which I think introduce unnecessary complications), definitely. Judicious use of state diagrams to show the lifetime of objects at, again, a more conceptual level is also a very handy technique. As far as the rest of the UML, I think you just have to avoid the temptation to dive too deep too soon, but as someone pointed out, the more tricks you have in your bag, the more flexibility you have.

I'm not much on 1-10 scales, and of course, I'm (more than) a little biased, so I'm going to avoid reducing what I've said here to a solitary number. I do think, however, that since the UML was explicitly built on the premise that use of it would improve communication between and among project workers and stakeholders, there's very good reason for a BA to learn the language, and for said stakeholders to be open to learning those aspects of the language that will add value to their lives.


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