WIRES: A methodology for developing workflow applications

Fabio Casati, Maria Grazia Fugini, Isabelle Mirbel, Barbara Pernici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Workflow management systems are becoming a relevant support for a large class of business applications, and many workflow models as well as commercial products are currently available. While the large availability of tools facilitates the development and the fulfilment of customer requirements, workflow application development still requires methodological guidelines that drive the developers in the complex task of rapidly producing effective applications. In fact, it is necessary to identify and model the business processes, to design the interfaces towards existing cooperating systems, and to manage implementation aspects in an integrated way. This paper presents the WIRES methodology for developing workflow applications under a uniform modelling paradigm - UML modelling tools with some extensions - that covers all the life cycle of these applications: from conceptual analysis to implementation. High-level analysis is performed under different perspectives, including a business and an organisational perspective. Distribution, interoperability and cooperation with external information systems are considered in this early stage. A set of 'workflowability' criteria is provided in order to identify which candidate processes are suited to be implemented as workflows. Non-functional requirements receive particular emphasis in that they are among the most important criteria for deciding whether workflow technology can be actually useful for implementing the business process at hand. The design phase tackles aspects of concurrency and cooperation, distributed transactions and exception handling. Reuse of component workflows, available in a repository as workflow fragments, is a distinguishing feature of the method. Implementation aspects are presented in terms of rules that guide in the selection of a commercial workflow management system suitable for supporting the designed processes, coupled with guidelines for mapping the designed workflows onto the model offered by the selected system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-106
Number of pages34
JournalRequirements Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Extensions to UML
  • Methodology
  • Reusable patterns
  • Workflow
  • Workflows for e-services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems

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