Without putting much thought into the details of how to use pools and lanes, BPMN practitioners commonly employ these elements based on the following definition:
While these statements are valid, a deeper understanding is required to produce high-quality process models that can serve as a proper foundation of your BPM initiative.
According to our basic understanding of BPMN pools and lanes, we might model the process as follows:
However, when paying attention to detail, we see that the diagram doesn’t comply with more detailed good practices for using BPMN pools and lanes:
Let’s now adjust our process diagram to improve the weaknesses we just identified:
As you can see, the scope of the diagram is now clearer. The events and tasks in the ‘Customer’ pool didn’t provide any additional meaning. In the Sales Department, we identified roles that are in charge of executing different sets of tasks and the ‘Risk assessment’ task is now no longer mapped to an individual.
Depending on the actual scenario, you might furthermore consider the following adjustments:
Rethinking the way you use BPMN pools and lanes in your BPMN diagrams helps you to create concise and understandable diagrams as it prevents unnecessary overhead when documenting your process landscape in the. Properly employed pools and lanes provide not only a clear and transparent overview over responsibilities, but also well-defined restrictions of the diagram’s scope. For further reading, we recommend Bruce Silver’s BPMN Method & Style.
Thestates that “a pool is the graphical representation of a participant in a collaboration”. Consequently, using pools primarily for whole organizations, – for example ‘Bank’ or ‘Customer’ – as well as using pools to set organizational boundaries – for example ‘Sales Department – is consistent with the spec.
However, BPM experts recommend to name pools after the corresponding end-to-end process (see for example in BPMN Method & Style). This facilitates process awareness. And in many cases, the organization name is obvious, anyway.