South East Training - Business Process Modelling Toolkit

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Pools, Lanes and Sub-Processes

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Lanes and Pools

  • BPMN lets us identify who performs each activity by use of lanes. Lanes typically represent roles or organisational units such as departments.
  • Lanes appear as subdivisions of pools. Pools typically represent processes. However, in some cases, they represent organisations.
  • Labelling of lanes and pools is different. Pool labels appear in a box. Lane labels do not.

Activity Types

  • It is also possible to distinguish between different types of activities by different labelling:
    • An activity with a human figure in the top left hand corner indicates this is performed by a person (a user task)
    • An activity with a cog in the top left hand corner is an automated task performed by a system (a service task)
    • Some people put automated or system related activities in separate lanes.


  • An activity with a small cross in the middle of the bottom edge is a collapsed sub-process consisting of a flow of activities having a start event and one or more end events.

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