BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) delivers a specialized approach to process representation. Traditional flowcharts, in contrast, provide a more general overview. This study delves into the advantages and disadvantages of choosing BPMN over traditional flowcharts and highlights the nuances that impact effective process documentation and analysis. Understanding these concerns will enable individuals and organizations to make informed decisions that meet specific process management needs and objectives.

What is BPMN

The business process modeling notation (BPMN) is a graphical notation for describing the business process in the process model. BPMNs are used to create diagrams that depict the flow of activity from the start to the end of a business process. This diagram uses a standard set of symbols to describe process elements, such as tasks, events, and gateways.

Although process mapping is already widely used in many organizations, it is often complex and confusing, and there is no standard implementation. People not directly involved in the mapping process find it difficult to understand the map because there is no unified procedure for documenting it. The BPMN was introduced to eliminate this confusion.

What is Flowcharts?

The flowchart makes the code visually understandable by graphically expressing the data and algorithm. Show solutions to problems, algorithms, or processes step by step. A flowchart is a method of pictorial representation of steps that beginner programmers prefer to use to understand algorithms in computer science, which contributes to troubleshooting problems with algorithms. The flowchart is a picture of a box showing the sequential processing flow. The flowchart is a pictorial representation of the process or algorithm, so the process is easy to interpret and understand. To draw a flowchart, specific rules must be followed, which all experts adhere to when drawing a flowchart and are widely accepted worldwide.

Advantages of BPMN

Accelerate standardized business processes.

Successful companies are backed by well-designed business processes and rules to ensure consistent implementation. BPMN does this by standardizing existing processes through detailed flowcharts. These diagrams help stakeholders eliminate guesswork and ensure that each process complies with company guidelines and legal regulations.

Improved interdepartmental communication

Communication is an integral part of business process management. Avoid misconceptions and ensure everyone is on the same page. With BPMN, you’ll find it very easy to communicate your thoughts and expectations visually.

It’s also a great way to identify potential problems ahead of time. This will give you and your team enough time to brainstorm how to implement the process more effectively. Since BPMN makes interactions with stakeholders more effective, BPMN is an inalienable part of our communication strategy.

Visual representation aids memory retention.

By adding a visual element to the business process, BPMN makes it easier for people to remember the different steps of each method. One study found that readers only retain 10 to 20% of spoken or documented information after three days. On the other hand, if this information is in a visual format, it can hold up to 65%.

Flexibility and Capacity

BPMNs have the flexibility to adapt to many unique business processes. As a result, BPMNs can function seamlessly within a business process without changing the overall structure of the business process. This flexibility provides various features that are rarely seen on other systems.

Universally accepted and compatible with most solutions

BPMNs are particularly effective in cross-functional and cross-corporate communications. This is the best way to provide context before going into how your business works.

With BPMN, it’s easy to ensure that communication is done properly and that all stakeholders understand the process and what they should do. This also facilitates transparency and trust among all parties concerned.

Disadvantages of BPMN

It is widely used for process analysis, design, execution, and management. However, BPMN also has some disadvantages, such as:

It can be complex and challenging to read for those unfamiliar with the notation. BPMN has many symbols, rules, and elements that can confuse the diagrams.

It is not suitable for all types of processes. BPMN is mainly designed for structured and predictable operations, but it may not capture some processes’ dynamic and adaptive nature, such as case management.

It does not allow for processes to be repeated. BPMN assumes that each process instance has a unique start and end point and that the process flow is linear and sequential. However, depending on the conditions, some processes may need to loop back or branch out.

It tends to limit innovation due to its highly rigid framework. BPMN enforces a predefined and standardized way of modeling processes, which may constrain the creativity and flexibility of the process participants and designers.

How to compare BPMN and flowchart?

BPMN and flowchart can be compared based on several criteria, such as:


BPMN is more complex than a flowchart, as it has more symbols, rules, and elements to represent the various aspects of a process. Flowchart is more uncomplicated and more straightforward, as it has fewer symbols and a more flexible structure.


BPMN is more precise than a flowchart, as it can specify the exact roles, responsibilities, data, events, and exceptions involved in a process. Flowchart is more general and abstract, as it focuses on a process’s main steps and decisions.


BPMN is more suitable for structured and predictable processes, especially those that involve human and IT interactions. BPMN can also model complex and dynamic processes, such as case management, but it may require more effort and expertise. Flowchart is more suitable for any type of process, whether it is simple or complex, linear or branching, deterministic or probabilistic.


BPMN is more standardized than flowchart, as it follows a globally recognized and accepted method of process modeling. BPMN also has a standard interchange mechanism that allows the diagrams to be easily shared and exchanged between different tools and platforms. Flowchart is less standardized, as it does not have a universal notation or a common interchange format.

How do you choose between BPMN and flowchart?

The choice between BPMN and flowchart depends on the specific context and purpose of the process modeling. Some aspects that can influence the decision are:

The goal of the process modeling: 

If the goal is to analyze and optimize the data movement within a system, a data flow diagram (a type of flowchart) may be a better choice. If the goal is to communicate and execute the business procedures in a standard manner, BPMN may be a better choice.

The audience of the process modeling: 

If the audience is mainly technical and familiar with the notation, BPMN may be a better choice, as it can provide more information and clarity. If the audience is mainly non-technical and unfamiliar with the notation, a flowchart may be a better choice, as it can provide more simplicity and intuitiveness.

The resources and tools available for the process modeling: 

If the resources and tools are limited or constrained, a flowchart may be a better choice, as it can be quickly drawn and modified with basic software or even paper and pencil. If the resources and tools are abundant and advanced, BPMN may be a better choice, as it can leverage the features and functionalities of specialized software and platforms


What Influences the Choice Between BPMN and Flowchart?

The choice depends on the goal of process modeling, the audience, and available resources/tools. BPMN may be preferred for analyzing and optimizing data movement, while flowcharts may be more suitable for intuitively communicating and executing business procedures.

Does BPMN Limit Innovation?

Yes, BPMN’s highly rigid framework can potentially limit innovation. It enforces a predefined and standardized way of modeling processes, which may constrain the creativity and flexibility of process participants and designers.

Can Flowcharts be Easily Drawn and Modified?

Yes, flowcharts can be easily drawn and modified using basic software or even with paper and pencil. This simplicity makes them accessible, particularly when resources and tools are limited or constrained.

When is BPMN Not Suitable?

BPMN is primarily designed for structured and predictable processes. It may not capture the dynamic and adaptive nature of some processes, such as case management, making it less suitable for specific scenarios.


BPMN and flowchart are two different methods of diagramming business processes and workflows. They have different features, advantages, and disadvantages that make them suitable for different scenarios. The choice between BPMN and flowchart depends on the specific context and purpose of the process modeling, as well as the factors such as the goal, the audience, and the resources and tools available. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a trade-off between complexity and simplicity, precision and generality, suitability and flexibility, and standardization and customization. Therefore, it is important to understand each method’s strengths and weaknesses and select the one that best fits the needs and requirements of the process modeling.

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