BPMN Escalation Event

BPMN Escalation Event

The BPMN Escalation Event article provides a detailed explanation of the escalation event element, including the BPMN notation, an example diagram and guidelines.

The BPMN Escalation Event article focus on the definition and usage of the escalation event element as documented in the BPMN 2.0 specification. The example process diagram illustrates the correct use of the escalation event annotation. The BPMN Guidelines section contains a detailed set of rules that apply to the escalation event and explains how the element may or may not be used within the different BPMN diagrams.

What is a Escalation Event?

“An Escalation identifies a business situation that a Process might need to react to. An Escalation event is used for handling a named Escalation. An escalation has a descriptive name and an escalation code.” ~ BPMN Specification

BPMN Notation

The BPMN specification defines the Escalation Event element using the following description and notation:

Catching EventsThrowing Events
Start EventIntermediate EventEnd Event
StandardEvent Sub-Process
Event Sub-Process
Boundary Non-
Escalation Event

BPMN Notation: Escalation Event

BPMN Event Types

The following table contains a list of the different Escalation Event types, their descriptions and the BPMN notations:

Escalation Event Sub-Process Event (Interrupting) 
Escalation Event Sub-process Event (Non-Interrupting) 
Escalation Boundary Event (Interrupting) 
Escalation Boundary Event (Non-Interrupting) 
Escalation Intermediate Throw Event 
Escalation End Event 

BPMN Event Types: Escalation Events

BPMN Diagram

The following is an example of a BPMN Escalation Event within a diagram:

BPMN Escalation Event Example of BPMN Escalation Event

BPMN Standards & Guidelines

The difference between standard and guideline is that a standard is a level of quality or attainment while a guideline is a non-specific rule or principle that provides direction to action or behaviour. A standard are high in authority and needs to be adhered to versus a guideline is low in authority and guide one in setting standards or determining a course of action.

BPMN Standards

The BPMN Standards section contains a list of rules that are applicable to the BPMN Escalation Event as per the official rules of the BPMN Specification.

  • The Escalation End Event MUST have an escalation code. This “throws” the Escalation
  • The Escalation Intermediate Throw Event MUST have an escalation code. This “throws” the Escalation.
  • The Escalation Boundary Event MAY have an escalation code, since its non-mandatory. This Event “catches” the Escalation.
  • If the Escalation Boundary Event has no escalationCode, then any Escalation SHALL trigger the Event.
  • If the Escalation Boundary Event has an escalationCode, then only an Escalation that matches the escalationCode SHALL trigger the Event.

BPMN Guidelines

The BPMN guidelines section contains a list of optional rules that can be used as a guide.

  • An Escalation Event that throws the escalation should have a Text Annotation with text “Escalation Code: {Escalation Code}”.


This article provided a detailed explanation of the BPMN Escalation Event element. Follow me on any of the different social media platforms, and feel free to leave comments.