Latest BPMN update

Hi everybody, according to Wikipedia, the last update to the BPMN standard was 10 years ago (back in January 2014). Is there a reason why the standard hasn’t been updated since then? I saw a snide remark on LinkedIn from a person connected to a different process automation tool, making a backhanded insult along the lines of “go with us, if you don’t want to use a standard that hasn’t been updated since 2014”.

Do you have useful input on how to counter that? I don’t think “The standard is perfect as it is” is something that will come across very well and in a way I agree that it’s a bit strange that the standard isn’t continuously updated, but maybe there’s something I haven’t quite understood (wouldn’t be the first time).

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This is a great question.
There are two things to consider

  1. It takes a long time for the OMG to debate and decide on potential changes, so unless changes are really necessary they don’t often move forward with a change.
  2. There’s a much faster working group within the OMG called MIWG. This is a group representative of the BPMN vendors and can often agree to accept an improvement or change between them so that it’s for all intents and purposes a change in the standard.

An example of this is colour. Some folks notices that the BPMN standard didn’t have a definite way of determining the colour of an element, so it would be have been possible to add a colour in BPMN in one tool and it wouldn’t appear in another. So the MIWG gathered together the main BPMN vendors and we all agreed on a standard for how colours should be defined in BPMN. While it’s not officially part of the specification, it’s still a change to the standard.

Also from Camunda’s perspective - we started in 2013 with an orchestration engine which ran BPMN and it worked incredibly well for many years. We recently enough released Camunda 8 which was a complete redesign. We had the opportunity at the point to assess the value of BPMN to see if we would carry it over and it’s honestly a great standard that still works really well for us and our users.

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I also think this is a great question.

Unfortunately, the Object Management Group (OMG) does not seem to be open about the standardization process, so we (at least I, since I’m not an OMG member) can only speculate.

I personally believe that interest in BPMN was mostly lost after its standardization as an ISO standard. The BPMN 2.0 standard was difficult to create and even nowadays there are only few process engines that really support the execution semantics of BPMN (an important update in 2.0). Even Camunda takes some liberties, since the standard does have some ambiguities and issues.

A few years ago I heard that BPMN 2.0 is intentionally kept stable, so that we don’t get many versions to worry about. That’s just a rumor, though.
The standard is good enough for modeling and even automation, but a new version would be difficult to create (time, money, and getting members to agree).

Should you still use BPMN? Yes.
It’s age or last update are straw arguments.

What can that other vendor really offer compared to BPMN?

Does it use a standardized language at all? BPMN is known internationally and it’s meaning is agreed on. There’s a lot of BPMN knowledge around the world and it is available in various tools and many independent parties. It supports acyclic graphs of tasks (some no code plattforms do not or did not when they came up). BPMN has defined execution semantics.

Does it have flaws and ambiguities? Yes. But it’s still relevant.


This is a great point - it’s worth looking at what some orchestration tools that don’t use BPMN have created. Each of the ones I’ve tried including things like StepFunctions, UiPath have a much worse alternative proprietor notation.

If you want to visualize and execute flow logic - BPMN is by far the best option that i’ve come across.

I learned about BPMN via a IIBA approved training program.
If an organization the size of the IIBA is still endorsing BPMN, that says something in itself doesn’t it?

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