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Version: 3.4.x

BPMN basic concepts

Let's get into a bit more details on the main types of BPMN process elements.


Events are signals that something happens – this includes the start and end of a process as well as any interaction with the process’ environment.

There are 3 types of events:

  • start events
  • end events
  • intermediate events

Start and End events​

Start & End events

Start Event IconEnd Event Icon
event that triggers the processevent that defines the state that terminates the process

Intermediate events​

Message events​

  • represents incoming or outgoing messages from external parties - information, email, bank transfer
  • Receive Message Event - incoming message occurring during the process flow, somewhere between start and end
  • Send Message Event - outgoing message
Send Message Event IconReceive Message Event Icon
outgoing messageincoming message



  • it is an atomic activity within a process flow. You create a task when the activity cannot be broken down to a finer level of detail. A task can only belong to one lane.
User taskService task
a task that requires the human to perform an actiona task that uses a Web service, an automated application, or other kinds of service in completing the task.

Send Task

  • represents a task that sends a Message to another lane or pool. The Task is completed once the Message has been sent.

Receive Task​

  • indicates that the process has to wait for a message to arrive in order to continue. The Task is completed once the message has received.

User Task​

  • is a Task that is performed without the aid of any business process execution engine or any application. It is performed when the user performs a certain action in the application.

Service Task​

  • is executed by a business process engine. The task defines a script that the
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    can interpret. When the task begin, the engine will execute the script. The Task will be completed when the script is completed. It also provides a mechanism for a process to run a
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    on the process data.

BPMN Subprocesses​

In BPMN, a subprocess is a compound activity that represents a collection of other tasks and subprocesses. Generally, we create BPMN diagrams to communicate processes with others. To facilitate effective communications, we really do not want to make a business process diagram too complex. By using subprocesses, you can split a complex process into multiple levels, which allows you to focus on a particular area in a single process diagram.


Gateways allow to control as well as merge and split the

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Exclusive gateways​

In business processes, you typically need to make choices β€” business decisions. The most common type of decision is choosing either/or. Exclusive Gateways limit the possible outcome of a decision to a single path, and circumstances choose which one to follow.

Parallel gateways​

In many cases, you want to split up the flow within your business process. For example the sales and risk departments may examine a new mortgage application at the same time. This reduces the total cycle time for a case. To express parallel flow in BPMN, you use a parallel gateway.

Exclusive gateway (XOR)Parallel gateway (AND)
  • defines a decision point
  • no decision making;
  • all outgoing branches are activated

Closing gateway

  • closes gateways by connecting branches with no logic involved
  • symbol used depends on the initial gateway
  • parallel gateways - waits for all input tokens and merges all into one single token
  • inclusive gateways
    • waits for all active inputs
    • is informed about all preceding token flows - knows the path selected and are expecting the token from these

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