Pattern 8 (Naming Guidance)

FLASH animation of Naming Guidance pattern


This pattern refers to the availability of naming conventions or advice for model elements’ labels, which can be syntactic (e.g. using a verb-object style) or semantic (e.g. using a domain-specific vocabulary).


To bring clarity and convey domain-specific information.


Names that follow a verb-object style are less ambiguous [38]. Names that better convey the modeler’s intention improve understanding [10].


None of the languages examined provides naming conventions or advice. On the other hand, the problem of establishing naming conventions for task names in process models has gained growing attention in academia and in the industry. From a syntactic perspective, Mendling et al. [38] conducted a systematic study of different syntactic styles for task names in process models. The result is that task names in the verb-object style are perceived as less ambiguous and more useful than names in other styles (e.g. action-noun). The use of the verb-object style for task names is also proposed as a modeling guideline in [39] and in [55]. Silver [55] also proposes naming guidelines for gateways and certain types of events in BPMN 2.0. From a semantic perspective, Becker et al. [10] envisage using a business term catalogue to establish and relate the main terms in an organization, which can be filtered depending on a specific user group. Rosemann [51] further develops this idea and recommends a preparatory step to process modeling where the involved terms are separately captured in a hierarchy with their semantic relations. Using a controlled vocabulary taken from a domain-specific reference model is suggested in [19], while in [38] the possibility of using a general data dictionary to control the object part of verb-object names is also envisaged. Regarding the verb part, Mendling et al. [36] propose a set of 25 frequently occurring verbs of general use, which they extracted from the SAP R/3 reference model [13] and generalized via established verb taxonomies. Tool-wise, renaming features for task and process labels are explored (but not implemented) in [59], as part of a set of refactoring mechanisms for process models. A first effort towards the automation of renaming mechanisms is made in [8], where a prototype implementation is shown that can enforce specific naming conventions for eEPC ele- ments, via thesauri and linguistic grammars. [33] implements a tool to automatically refactor action-noun labels into verb- object labels in process models. The ARIS documentation [15] indicates general semantic guidelines for eEPCs (e.g. avoiding generic verbs such as “to process”) while Signavio features a central dictionary of terms which provides auto-completion of labels. However, major tools still neglect the importance of providing automated naming guidance.


Figure 8 shows the model in Figure 3b after renaming all activity labels in the verb-object style.