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How to Drill-Down in a BPMN Sub-Process?

Sub-process is a standard BPMN notation that can be used to represent an activity within a business process. In this tutorial, we will take a look at some of the key actions you can perform on a sub-process.

Compatible edition(s): Enterprise, Professional, Standard, Modeler

  • May 26, 2010
  • Views: 30,005
  • PDF

Drawing a sub-process

  1. Create a business process diagram, with a start event and a task Announce Proposal. Connect them with sequence flow.
    Simple business process diagram
  2. You can create a sub-process by making use of the Resource Catalog. Move your mouse pointer over the task Announce Proposal.
    Mouse over task
  3. Press on the Resource Catalog button at the top right of shape and drag it out.
    Using Resource Catalog
  4. Release the mouse button and select Sequence Flow > Sub-Process from the Resource Catalog.
    Select sub-process
  5. Enter Collect Opinion as the name of the sub-process and press Enter to confirm.
    Sub-process created

Forming a deeper process layer

Task and sub-process are both activities in BPMN. Sub-process defers in that it lets you define finer level of process detail by mean of sub-process diagram. Let's try.

  1. Click on the plus button in sub-process Collect Opinion and then select New Business Process Diagram from the popup menu.
    Expand sub-process
    A new business process diagram is created and opened. There is a pair of start and end event. They are there for you to connect the process flow modeled in the parent diagram and the flow to be modeled in this diagram.
    Sub-process diagram created
  2. Let's create three tasks Receive E-mail, Give General Reply and Forward to Responsible Person in between the start and event event as shown below.
    Sub-process diagram created
  3. Now, go back to the upper level by clicking on the shortcut in breadcrumb.
    Back to parent diagram
  4. You may optionally present the sub-process content as a preview in the sub-process shape. Click on the plus button in the sub-process Collect Opinion and then select Expand Sub-Process Preview from the popup menu.
    Expand sub-process
    You can see the preview like the image below. If the preview is too small or too big for you, resize the sub-process shape. The preview will be updated automatically to fit the size of the sub-process shape.
    Preview shown

Forming a sub-process diagram with tasks

We many group several flow objects in a business process diagram as a sub-process. Let's try.

  1. Draw a new business process diagram with a start and end event, and four tasks Announce Proposal, Receive Email and Forward to Responsible Person, like this:
    Business process diagram
  2. Select the tasks.
    Select tasks
  3. Right click on the selection and select Form Separate Diagram Sub-Process from the popup menu.
    Forming sub process diagram
    A new sub-process diagram is formed, with the three tasks moved to there:
    New sub process diagram formed
    If you have selected Form Same Diagram Sub-Process, a new sub-process shape will be created, containing the three tasks in-place, without creating any new business process diagram.


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