Introducing a Cocktail Mixing Model & Notation
When we sit together with our clients to model their cases with CMMN we start by explaining the basic elements of the notation. Using real-life examples can go a long way to explain the different concepts and their potential applications. The beauty about modeling with CMMN is that you can capture all possible dynamic flow of work in one model.
Even if you ask 3 experts to model the case-flow, you might end up with 3 slightly different, but correct, descriptive models! CMMN does not have an abundance of elements, on the contrary, but when you combine and decorate them with execution rules, it becomes a mighty powerful instrument! This is also one of the reasons our analysts work intensively to map out the different cases together with key stakeholders of a project.
A refreshing take on CMMN
However, we also have to translate the modelling & notation work for management and non-technical people. We aim to closely involve these stakeholders as well, and therefore we often organize CMMN for ‘business’ sessions, where we explain these concepts using a straight-forward example.
This made us think about a real-life example that is not abstract or technical, but where we could apply some kind of ‘case’ workflow naturally. During our brainstorm session my conversations with a good friend came to mind. He’s a mixologist, a person who’s very skilled at making cocktails. This was our big breakthrough and 30 minutes later the first draft of what would become the ‘Cocktail Mixing Model & Notation‘ was finished.
CMMN applied to a cocktail order
Below you can see the result of our work – a CMMN poster with the concepts applied to the process/case of ordering a cocktail.
We will use this poster as a handy reference case to explain the different concepts of the notation the coming weeks. Today we’ll start with the basics.
The basics: Case Plan Model, Stages, Tasks, and Milestones
The Case Plan Model shape holds the full behavior of a case and defines the boundary. Every other item must be contained within this shape.
In order to read a Case Plan Model you start by interpreting the most obvious and ‘high-level’ items first. Regardless of further details, Stages, tasks, and milestones give you a view on the possible behavior in the case. These shapes act as anchors for you to read the model. We kept our example relatively simple, but for some cases at customers the model can become more complex.
Anyway, let’s look at our ‘Cocktail order’. We see several tasks hanging around, for example ‘Take order‘ on the top left. This task is connected to a milestone ‘ordered‘. So far so good, this is pretty self-explanatory. We also see a stage,’processing‘, on the plan – which groups several related tasks. The milestone for this stage is ‘mixed‘, which can be considered as the achievable outcome for this stage.
Looking further at the model you’ll see that additional information can come in during the case, where an update of the case file item ‘Recipe‘ triggers the task ‘review menu card‘. Finally, after achieving the milestone ‘served‘, several tasks are triggered to make sure the bill gets paid.
Next week we will look at some more advanced concepts such as the different task types, as well as the discretionary concept of a tasks and stage. Stay tuned! Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Koen De Maesschalck, Case Management Expert, and Dries Lamont, Marketing Manager