BPMN Message Flow

BPMN Message Flow

The BPMN Message Flow article provides a detailed explanation of the message flow element, including the BPMN notation, an example diagram and guidelines.

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

What is a Message Flow?

“A Connecting Object that shows the flow of messages between two Participants. A Message Flow is represented by a dashed lined.” ~ BPMN Specification

BPMN Notation

The BPMN specification defines the Message Flow element using the following description and notation:

Message FlowA Message Flow is used to show the flow of Messages between two Participants that are prepared to send and receive them. 

BPMN Notation: Message Flow

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 element.

  • Message Flows MUST connect two separate Pools. They MAY connect to the Pool boundary or to theFlow object within the Pool boundary.
  • Message Flows MUST NOT connect two Flow objects within the same Pool.
  • An Activity MAY be the target of a Message Flow; it can have zero (0) or more incoming Message Flows.
  • An Activity MAY be a source of a Message Flow; it can have zero (0) or more outgoing Message Flows.

BPMN Guidelines

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



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