Event (in business process)

What is an Event in Process Mapping?

An event is a tool used in process mapping and process documentation.

Events are used on a process map to establish what starts and ends the business process. It is very important for process maps to document not only how you start your process, but also why. This is because, in most cases, an event is an external action, it is not exactly part of the process but shows where the process comes from, essentially why it exists. In some cases, an event is a previous process in a large chain.


Types of event which can trigger a process:

  • Message – A message which starts or finishes a process.
  • Timer – A time, date or recurring time period which sparks or completes the process.
  • Error – An error which when found or occurs triggers or ends a process.
  • Compensation – A process triggered or completed with a refund, usually as a result of failed operations or a faulty product.
  • Cancel – A process caused or completed the cancellation of a process.

Example of an event in a process map using the Gluu platform

In Gluu’s process documentation events are defined through circles. So each process map should begin and end with a circle shape. Ordinarily, this defines what starts the process and what is the desired outcome. As an example, a complaint handling process would begin with a customer making a complaint. Until a complaint is made, there is no need to put the process into motion. The process would end once the customer is satisfied with your response.

Further Resources of Event in Process Mapping:


Explore more about different process improvement terms in our BPM Glossary.

Louie A

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Louie A

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