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Independent analyst and systems architect specializing in business process management and Enterprise 2.0. Previously founded two successful product and service companies focusing on content management, BPM and e-commerce. Featured conference speaker on BPM and its impact on business, and writes the Column 2 blog on BPM and Enterprise 2.0. All posts are © Sandy Kemsley.

2 responses to “The Great BPMN Debate of 2010”

  1. Keith

    Good summary of the debate. However, you have touched upon the benefit of BPMN when you want to flowchart. What is not covered here is when you would and would not want to flowchart in the first place. My point is that it is not a foregone conclusion that flowcharting is useful for all people.

    I wrote up more at: http://kswenson.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/bpmn-vs-professionals-2-0/

    The essence of the problem can be seen in this quote: “It would be really scary if those responsible for the operation of multimillion dollar enterprises can’t take on the meaning of a set of symbols that can be put on a small wallchart”

    *IF* an organization is expressing their multi-million dollar processes as BPMN, *THEN* there is no question that all competent professionals will be able to learn to read it. That was never the issue. What is called to question is whether there is any utility for the multi-million dollar business to express their business as a flowchart in the first place. “Too hard to use” does not mean that the people can’t learn it, it means that the effort is greater than the return.

    The converse quote is: “It would be irresponsibly wasteful to train all professionals in BPMN, when there are no BPMN diagrams in the organization to read!”

  2. Sandy Kemsley

    Keith, I agree that not everything in business is, or should be, flowcharted. However, for those organizations that are flowcharting already, it appears that we’re in agreement that they should be using BPMN. The problem is, they’re not.