Quick book review: ‘The Process – Business Process Modeling Using BPMN’

Due to the fact I was sick today, I was able to work a bit on my book backlog. So, when I was waiting in the doc’s office, I finally finished The Process – Business Process Modeling Using BPMN, written by researchers of the Business Process Technology Group of the university of Potsdam.

The book tells the story of Tom, who is hired by the fictional company LasterTec to provide insights into how LaserTec works. While on the job, he learns about process modeling and BPMN. The following chapters describe the journey of Tom into the BPMN landscape, and how he is able to document and find bottlenecks int the processes of LasterTec. If you want to know how the story ends, you should give the book a reading 😉

So, here are in short the pro’s and con’s of the book:

Pro

  • The book is entry-level. Since I already have some BPMN experience I was able to quickly go through the first chapters, but I found myself concentrated while reading the more complex stuff (specifically on of the latests chapters on compensating activitites and business transactions). However, if you are already experienced in the BPMN field, this book will teach you not much new.
  • The BPMN information is nicely integrated with the story of Tom. So you’re getting an actual story that, for me, is much nicer to read than your average tech book. The story also allows you to digest the information easier. The downside of this approach is that the book is not a reference. Luckily, the book contains a BPMN reference poster, which you can also download here.
  • Many of the processes that Tom encounters are really industry-worthy. For a few of the processes described I really got a déjà-vu feeling since the process incorporated stuff I had to implement in the past in a similar way. So no academic reasoning or constructs in this book! (which is surprising, given the authors).

Con

  • The book is pretty short (about 180 pages) and in the end, I had the feeling there could be more to it. However, purely seen as an introduction to BPMN, the book is perfect.
  • Like I said, the book is a perfect entry-level book, but if you want to do some real process modeling, you’ll definitely need to read up on some more advanced stuff and get some practical experience. However, you are well prepared for this journey with the bagage from the book.
  • I ordered the book through Amazon and had to pay an extra import tax (only Amazon US had the book in store at the time I ordered) of 10 euro. So since the book only counts 180 pages, every page costs about 20 eurocents. In my opinion, that’s a bit too much. I think the book is perfect for an e-book, so I rather would have bought it in that format.

Conclusion

I liked reading the book and I finished it with only one pause between the reads. Taking into account that in fact the book describes a specification, this definitely is a good sign. The information covered in the book is limited, but in the end you get all the basics of BPMN and are ready to take on simple business procesess. The book uses examples from the industry and comes with a handy reference poster. In my opinion, the target audience of the book are managers or developers/analysts who need an introduction to BPMN.

If the Potsdam researchers are publishing an (e-) book about BPMN 2.0 in the future (perhaps now Tom is already married and teaching BPMN to his children …) , I’ll definitely give it a read!

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