Never Use Your Own Rules When Designing Workflow Diagrams

Sunday, May 15, 2011
Today is the sixth issue of our "BPMN" series. Let's look at "interrupting" events, or items that cancel the operation of other tasks.
There are several ways to interrupt a flow. Let's look at interrupting flows that include concurrent processing. In other words, interrupting other users' work when multiple users are executing tasks simultaneously.

In the below workflow, users A, B and C simultaneously work on separate tasks within the same process. Now, user A can decide to end the entire process arbitrarily. If user A completes task 2a, then tasks 2b and 2c disappear. (This doesn't have an effect when tasks 2b and 2c are already completed.)

1. Task, 2a. Task, 2b. Task, 2c. Task

[BPMN <Single Terminate>: "2a. Task" screen]

<Process Data Items>
  • title
<<Concurrent workers>>
  • User B (user)
  • User C (user)
  • Correspondence (discussion)

In BPMN, the international standard, this icon is called a terminate end event. (In the workflow, the divided flows are all ended.)
(BPMN: Business Process Model and Notation)

Specific examples of this can be found in many of our workflow samples.
For example, in "Applying for Permission to Access a Data Center, When You're in a Hurry," the supervisor can cancel the process once she decides she can't approve access. Also, in "Teleworking is One of Today's Needs," the approval of deliverable is what ends communication with teleworkers. Furthermore, in "Facilitate CRM Cycle with Thank You Emails and Invitation Emails," the repeated sales task (invitation) is ended as soon as the customer actually visits the shop.

In the below workflow definition, all users A, B and C can terminate the entire process, which means whoever finishes his task first ends the process.

1. Task, 2a. Task, 2b. Task, 2c. Task

Here is our entire BPMN lecture series: