Here’s a question I’ve been meaning to answer for a while – how easy is it to add steps to a BPMN diagram? Answer, very easy, so long as you don’t look at the Library area afterwards. If you did, then you’d realise there’s a wee bit more to it.
Every time you create a step from within a Business Process diagram, it creates the step as a reference in the next (step) column, and also saves the original in the Process Step Library. The recording of created business process steps in a common library area is a good thing for it encourages re-use of steps. Create a step once, and the next time that step is needed it doesn’t need to be defined a second time, but the original one can be referenced in the new process. This is vitally important when so-called “executables” (transaction, report, job or Fiori app etc.) are to be maintained, adapted, enhanced.
In addition, it means that one can tell almost straight away after a “where-used” search which processes have to be re-tested after a change to that shared step. But beware, if no effort is made to guide where this step will be saved, it will go by default to the root folder. So how does that encourage step re-use? Remember, steps shouldn’t have process specific names (VERB-NOUN is the BPMN recommendation). Steps will quickly accumulate in the root folder of the Process Step Library, making re-use much harder to achieve.
Fortunately, there exists the Executables Library which has a defined canonical folder structure based on the Application Component Hierarchy (or ACH, see transaction SE81). The Executable Library should be fully populated either through brought in SAP Best Practices, or real world use recorded from Usage Procedure Logging (UPL).
Nevertheless, all is not seamless, as during a project there will be gaps in SAP Best Practices; or processes will need to be defined that don’t already have executable found in UPL; or even perhaps required as yet undefined executables. For all this to run smoothly, situational awareness is required to understand the implications and consequences of choosing where to create new additional steps or choosing between selection of pre-existing steps and executables for re-use.
The Step Creation Process from within a BPMN GUI.
Step 1-3 will happen in that order. Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 can happen in any order.
A decision flow diagram of step searching and definition.
Here, proposed search and creation precedence is presented with illustrations to what is deposited to libraries in the background.