BPMN - the Standard for Business Process Modeling

BPMN is the abbreviation for Business Process Model and Notation and is an internationally used modeling language for business process modeling. It provides a graphical representation of working sequences and their interaction with one another.

bpmn 2.0 software

Increase your efficiency through targeted use of BPMN models

BPMN is a graphical notation for process modeling. As a central component of BPM, it enables organizations, regardless of company size or industry, to visualize and optimize their business processes. By using this modeling language, working steps are represented consistently and thus easily comprehensible for all process participants. Hence, the communication of processes is simplified across the whole organization. The BPMN was developed in 2001. In the course of numerous revisions, the Object Management Group® (OMG) published BPMN 2.0 in 2010. The metamodel also contains an execution semantics that can be used for the technical automation using a process engine.

With the support of a professional software, the Business Process Model and Notation creates considerable added value for organizations. BPMN 2.0.1 has also established itself as a quality management standard in Europe (ISO/IEC 19510:2013

How does the BPMN standard help to map business processes?

Modeling processes when using the BPMN standard enables the efficient representation of business processes. To compile a BPMN diagram, you first have to create a Pool, which you can divide into any desired number of Lanes. Depending on the selected diagram type, it is similarly possible to model several Pools. Process modeling always starts with at least one Start Event, and ends with one or more End Events. The process in between the start and end event consists of further Events, Activities, Gateways and, if necessary, additional artifacts. Specific modeling guidelines ensure the correct use of the elements as well as a consistent documentation of your processes.

With the intuitive modeling tool of BIC Process Design, you can additionally use further modeling languages such as DMN (Decision Model and Notation), VCD (Value Chain Diagram) or EPC (Event-driven Process Chain) to build your process landscape.

Learn more about our powerful BPM software BIC Process Design

The advantages of a professional BPMN software are obvious: simple and fast process recording, comprehensive process analysis and publication in seconds. With BIC Process Design you can easily design your processes and actively involve all employees via the collaboration function. This makes modeling BPMN diagrams and optimizing your processes a cakewalk.

Test for free More about BIC Process Design

Design your BPMN process using an extensive range of symbols

The BPMN 2.0 includes a variety of elements. The intuitive BPMN tool of BIC Process Design provides these elements in a way that you can start modeling directly.


Events are occuring, economically relevant conditions. In BPMN 2.0, events can either start a process, occur or be caused during a process or end a process. Events that have occured are conditions generated by an external trigger. These may be Start or Intermediate Events. Triggered events are conditions generated by the process itself, these are Intermediate or End Events.

BPMN - start event symbol

Start Event
TheStart Event triggers the sequence flow of a diagram.

BPMN - intermediate event

Intermediate Event
An Intermediate Event temporarily interrupts the sequence flow. It will only continue when the event has occured.

BPMN end event symbol

End Event
End Events end the sequence flow of a diagram.


Model activities to represent individual process steps in BPMN diagrams.

BPMN activity

An Activity represents a single work step and is phrased in active form.

BPMN subprocess

In case you don't want to show the complex sequence of an activity directly in the BPMN diagram, this can be avoided by creating a Sub-Process. A Sub-Process is a flowchart detailing a description of complex activities on the next level.


Usually, processes are not always linear, but consist of splits and mergers. Within the process flow, these are represented by gateways.

BPMN 2.0 - exclusive gateway

Exclusive Gateways
Exclusive Gateways are used when exactly one condition may occur ("either/or"). When merging, exactly one incoming process path must be met.

BPMN 2.0 - parallel gateway

Parallel Gateways
WithParallel Gateways, all outgoing process paths must be fulfilled ("and"). The process flow may only be continued if all incoming process paths have been met.

BPMN 2.0 - inclusive gateway

Inclusive Gateways
Inclusive Gateways are used if one or more process paths can be followed ("and/or"; combination of paths). When merging, all previously triggered paths must be waited for.

BPMN - event based gateway

Event-based Gateways
In the case of event-based Gateways, the one process flow whose event occurs first, is followed.


All flow elements used in a BPMN process are connected via so-called sequence flows.

Sequence Flows BPMN

Sequence Flows
Sequence Flows connect the Activities, Events and Gateways of a process and thus illustrate the chronological sequence of the process.

Message flows bpmn

Message Flows
Message Flows represent the exchange of information with external process participants. They are triggered by activities and can attach to other Actvities, Pools or News Events.

Pools & Lanes

The individual steps of a process are carried out by process participants. In BIC Process Design these are represented as organizational units, roles, IT systems and services. Following the BPMN standard, users model within Pools and Lanes to depict the different process participants.

BPMN pool

Pools represent a process participant superior to the lanes, who coordinates the process flow within the Pool. They cover the entire process and assign the included tasks to the responsible Lanes.

BPMN lane

Pools are usually further subdivided into Lanes. Lanes represent process participants, may be organizational units or roles. In BIC Process Design, they are generated by defining a Pool in the editor. The individual tasks of the process participant are then modeled within the corresponding Lane.


In order to make the design of your business processes in BPMN even clearer, further artifacts are part of the BIC standard for modelers.

BPMN symbol documents

Data Objects
Many processes include process steps that contain the use or creation of documents or data. These are represented by Data Objects. Data Objects may be both paper documents or electronic data.

BPMN symbol annotation

All BPMN elements can be provided with a comment to gain a better understanding of the process model. The Annotation is placed directly in the process.

BPMN symbol group

The Group is a visual element, which summarizes content-related objects. This helps to better understand the model - without affecting the process flow.

BPMN role

A Role is an abstraction of positions or a combination of the same areas of operations. Additional process participants besides the ones modeled as Lanes can be depicted as Roles.

BPMN application

Applications represent IT systems which are relevant for the execution of process steps. They explicitly show which IT systems are used to support manual work.

BPMN norms

Norms represent requirements for the process execution. These may be company-specific guidelines or official, international standards.

BPMN risk symbol

Risks are dangers that might occur in the course of process execution. They are used in BPMN modeling to support process-oriented risk management.

BPMN Control Symbol

Controls are regulatory activities that aim to minimize risks. They are used in BPMN modeling to support internal control systems.

Really nice to have

Order your clearly arranged BPMN 2.0 poster now and you always have all symbols in view. Define the right specifications at the beginning and build a structured process landscape. Join our webinar and learn all about the use cases, diagram types and objectives of BPMN.

Available diagram types when modeling in BPMN 2.0

  • Process Diagram:
    The Process Diagram depicts a seqence flow in a single Pool.
  • Collaboration Diagram:
    The Collaboration Diagram extends the scope of the Process Diagram and thus enables the design of two or more Pools. In this way, the interaction between different process participants and the chronological sequence of their working steps as well as Message Flows can be modeled.
  • Conversation Diagram:
    The Conversation Diagram is used to describe Message Flows and to represent communication processes.
  • Choreography Diagram:

    A Choreography Diagram is a view of a collaboration, in which the sequence of message exchange is shown independently without focusing on the processes of the individual partners.

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