Frank's Blog

BizAgi Process Modeler with Frapu Stencils 

The BizAgi Process Modeler now sports an import option for Visio files using the BPMN 1.0 stencils that I offer here.

Thanks to Matthias Weidlich for pointing me to this feature of BizAgi Process Modeler.
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Still alive 

Yes, it's time for me to give a ping that I'm still alive. In addition to my job transition to inubit AG, I also moved to a new apartment. To get a bit out of the theoretical thoughts, I assembled the IKEA kitchen together with my brother---85 flat boxes and more than 600 kilogram in weight. That took quite some time and should be a good excuse.

But now I'm back into business---semantics this time. While semantic (web) has been claimed to be the next big thing(tm) for some time now, the excitement has settled. While some might claim that it's dead at all, I think some important preconditions have matured in the meantime. Most of it can be found at the Semantic Web Activity Homepage of the W3C.

In particular, the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and its variants such as RDFS (schema) and RDFA (annotations), SPARQL as a query language for RDF, and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) provide a number of interesting technologies to really integrate semantics into products. I'm not talking about the blue from the sky, but rather about simple, pragmatic things like data mappings or business rules that are connected to business processes and organigrams via ontologies.

An important step is the integration of an RDF database into Oracle 11g. It's not that I personally like to spend sooo much money, but it means that there's a professional, performance optimized RDF store available.

Last but not least, I'm still working on bringing you an updated introduction to the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). It will be based on a chapter of a technical report that I wrote some years ago, but covers BPMN 1.1. In the meantime you can take a look at the old report here.
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inubit AG 

Today I removed my "Search for: Job" entry at After years of study, I finally start working fulltime in the industry, beginning in April 2008. My new employer will be the inubit AG, a Berlin-based BPM software company. The title of my job position will be "Research Engineer" and according to this, I'm joining inubit AG in further advancing the success of their product. I will also be responsible for supporting Master and Diploma theses. If you are looking forward to one in the area of BPM, we should definitely get in contact.
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Enhanced eEPCs 

Today was the first time in my life that I wished for eEPC (enhanced event-driven process chains) stencils for OmniGraffle. Hence, I created a simple set that you can download here. The beautiful things that you can do with them are depicted below:

I introduced two visual extensions to the eEPC notation in the example. First, I'm depicting often executed functions larger, whereas seldom used functions are shown smaller. The same holds for events, systems, and roles. Via these simple layout changes, an immediate feedback of the important parts of an eEPC is given. This is quite important, since EPCs usually fill walls. As a second extension, I also depicted the often traversed edges in the diagram in bold. This also adds to an immediate visual feedback for the viewer. In my example, I simply assumed the important parts. If you have log data or annotations available, you could even simply automatically enhance your diagram.
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Good Enough 

Sometimes, I get asked why---and how---I wrote a doctoral thesis. There are some simple answers for the former question: Why?

1. Stay a student.
2. Get paid to be a student.
3. If you're out of arguments, you always have the doctoral joker ;-)

The second question seems to be more complicated, but indeed is also very simple: Do your job good enough. While people often search for something to become perfect, this seldom appears to be the same to other people. Just like the 80:20 rule, focus on the important things. Here is a simple graph to depict the idea:

The horizontal axis shows the time that flies by. The vertical axis shows the amount of additional knowledge you earn each time unit. In the beginning, you quickly graps knowledge. Over time, your reach the meridian. Then, you cool down. While you're still working on the topic, something absolutely new and directly related to your work is hard to find anymore. Finally, prepare finishing your thesis. The important point is to submit your thesis just in time. While you would still be able to find additional knowledge, it's not mattering for your thesis anymore. So, that's at least how I did it. And believe me, you can apply the good enough rule to almost everything!
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