BPMN Escalation Event

BPMN Escalation Event

The BPMN Escalation Event article provides a detailed explanation of the escalation event BPMN element, including the definition, notation, rules, guidelines and examples.

The BPMN Escalation Event article delves deep into the intricacies and applications of the escalation event element as outlined in the BPMN 2.0 specification. The definition, notation, and rules sections offer a concise summary of the BPMN 2.0 Specification pertaining to the escalation event element. Meanwhile, the guidelines section presents a curated collection of best practices specific to the escalation event, showcasing its proper and effective utilisation in process modelling.

BPMN Definition

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 different types of Escalation Event elements using the following description and notation:

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 Event Types

BPMN events represent various types of occurrences that affect the flow of a process, and they can be categorized based on their position and behavior in the process.

  • Start Event: The Start Event indicates where a particular Process will start.
  • Intermediate Event: The Intermediate Event indicates where something happens (an Event) somewhere between the start and end of a Process.
  • End Event: The End Event indicates where a Process will end.
  • Catching Events: Events that catch a trigger. All Start Events and some Intermediate Events are catching Events.
  • Throwing Events: Events that throw a Result. All End Events and some Intermediate Events are throwing Events that MAY eventually be caught by another Event.
  • Boundary Event: An Intermediate Event that is attached to the boundary of an Activity.

The following table illustrates how the different types of Timer Events are grouped as per the BPMN Event types:

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

BPMN Notation: Escalation Event

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.