Skip to Main Content
As a result of the growing adoption of Business Process Management (BPM) technology, different stakeholders need to understand and agree upon the process models that are used to configure BPM systems. However, BPM users have problems dealing with the complexity of such models. Therefore, the challenge is to improve the comprehension of process models. While a substantial amount of literature is devoted to this topic, there is no overview of the various mechanisms that exist to deal with managing complexity in (large) process models. As a result, it is hard to obtain an insight into the degree of support offered for complexity reducing mechanisms by state-of-the-art languages and tools. This paper focuses on complexity reduction mechanisms that affect the abstract syntax of a process model, i.e., the formal structure of process model elements and their interrelationships. These mechanisms are captured as patterns so that they can be described in their most general form, in a language- and tool-independent manner. The paper concludes with a comparative overview of the degree of support for these patterns offered by state-of-the-art languages and tools, and with an evaluation of the patterns from a usability perspective, as perceived by BPM practitioners.