What Makes Process Models Understandable?

  • Jan Mendling
  • Hajo A. Reijers
  • Jorge Cardoso
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-75183-0_4

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4714)
Cite this paper as:
Mendling J., Reijers H.A., Cardoso J. (2007) What Makes Process Models Understandable?. In: Alonso G., Dadam P., Rosemann M. (eds) Business Process Management. BPM 2007. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 4714. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg


Despite that formal and informal quality aspects are of significant importance to business process modeling, there is only little empirical work reported on process model quality and its impact factors. In this paper we investigate understandability as a proxy for quality of process models and focus on its relations with personal and model characteristics. We used a questionnaire in classes at three European universities and generated several novel hypotheses from an exploratory data analysis. Furthermore, we interviewed practitioners to validate our findings. The results reveal that participants tend to exaggerate the differences in model understandability, that self-assessment of modeling competence appears to be invalid, and that the number of arcs in models has an important influence on understandability.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Mendling
    • 1
  • Hajo A. Reijers
    • 2
  • Jorge Cardoso
    • 3
  1. 1.Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Augasse 2-6, 1090 ViennaAustria
  2. 2.Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB EindhovenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.University of Madeira, 9000-390 FunchalPortugal

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