In business process management, activities describe tasks or actions, the sequence of which results in a process. Activities can be performed by humans or (automated) by machines. Furthermore, an activity is implemented within a certain processing time and can have other characteristics such as a responsible person or a certain cost rate.
What types of activities are there?
The type of activity classifies an activity more precisely. According to BPMN 2.0, there are Send, Receive, User, Manual, Business Rule, Service, and Script types. In the BPMN they are visualized in the upper left corner of the activities.
The type “Send” is assigned to an activity when, for example, a quotation is sent to a customer. This clarifies the sending or outgoing of a message or document, in this case the quotation. This offer can also be described as the output of the corresponding step.
If the activity is marked with “Receive” , the arrival of a message, a document or a file is to be expected. This is the case, for example, if the employee responsible for an administrative authority receives a request that they are to process. An input is therefore expected for the activity.
The types can be omitted for both activities. Then the message / file inbox or outbox should be represented by events so that the information is not lost.
An activity marked as “User” is triggered by an IT system. The system prompts the user to execute an activity, such as entering data.
If an activity of the type “Business Rule” is executed, business rules must be taken into account when this task is performed. Such business rules are, for example, tariff rates or service level agreements.
How can activities be carried out?
In addition to the assignment of activity types, activities in BPMN 2.0 are more precisely specified by markers. Markers describe how the task is executed.
An activity is classified as a “Loop” , if an activity is executed as long as a specified condition applies or does not apply. Such a condition is, for example, a workload limit. For example, the activity “Start cloud instances” is executed until 75% of the server capacity is occupied.
Furthermore, a process can be specified as “Ad-hoc” . Sub-processes whose activities are executed in any order and several times are flagged as ad hoc. Filling out a form is an example of an ad hoc process, since it does not matter which field is filled first. Activities in ad hoc processes can also be skipped.
An activity is only flagged as “Compensation” if the corresponding compensation event exists in the process. An activity marked as compensation is executed to undo previous process steps. This means that the system “jumps” from the compensation activity back to the compensation event.