Those familiar with my past writings may be surprised that I have written a book on the Case Management Model and Notation (CMMN) standard, because when CMMN was launched in 2014, I was unenthusiastic and vocal about it. Business process modeling already had a standard – BPMN 2.0 – that was widely adopted by both business and technical modelers. Why did we now need a different one? CMMN’s creators maintained that it was necessary because there are many kinds of processes that BPMN is unable to handle. Although BPMN could have been tweaked to handle them, those tweaks never happened. In my opinion, they never will; the BPMN 2.0 spec appears to be forever frozen in stone.
Actually, CMMN’s backers have a valid point. BPMN does have limitations, and in my BPMN Method and Style training we discuss them. Those limitations mostly stem from the fact that BPMN’s conception of a process is quite narrow, much narrower in fact than that of BPM Architecture and most other areas of business process management. For example, many of the “processes” listed in APQC’s Process Classification Framework are not what BPMN would call processes, and many cannot be modeled in BPMN at all. CMMN, on the other hand, could handle them. That’s reason number one for my change of heart. Instead of describing the logic procedurally – following a defined sequence of steps – CMMN logic is declarative, each case element independently defining its own prerequisite conditions. That gives it great flexibility, but makes the logic harder to communicate clearly. Get the book here. For additional BPM books please see the wiki here.
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