Featured Resource

A Survey of Business Process Initiatives

Written by Nathaniel Palmer and published by Business Process Trends, "A Survey of Business Process Initiatives" features 33 pages of ground breaking research on the results of analyzing over 100 BPM deployment and business process. initiatives.Examined are BPM project success factors, Return On Investment (ROI) results, and the characteristics which determine whether BPM initiatives succeed or fail. Representing the results of over 6 months of research, this first-of-its-kind study offers one of the first real analyses of peformance rates and success indicators for business process initiatives.

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Public Documents

These are public documents released by the Workflow Management Coalition.
Scroll down for General Publications and white papers. Additional white papers can be found at e-workflow.or


WfMC Standards and Working Groups
Publications and working documents on standards still under development reside on the members only pages. If you have a need to have an early view of standards before they are published, these can now be made available on application to the WfMC Secretariat.
(Scroll down for General Publications)

To help you navigate to the documents you need, read this first
Workflow Standards and Associated Documents
(One page PDF Document)
WfMC Document Index (PDF)
TC-1002 Issue 5.0 March '99 (7 pages 30KB)

Interface 1 - Process Definition Interchange 
View list of XPDL supporters.


Workflow Process Definition Interface -- XML Process Definition Language (XPDL)
Document Number WFMC-TC-1025: Version 1.14
Document Status – Final
October 3, 2005

WFMC-TC-1025 FINAL (PDF 923kb)
TC-1025_schema_2.0_xpdl.xsd (
110 kb)
Technical Committee adoption voting form is here

The intended audience for this document is primarily vendor organizations who seek to implement the XML Process Definition Language (XPDL) of the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC), or using it as a file format for the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) of the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI). It may also be of interest to those seeking to assess conformance claims made by vendors for their products. Comments should be addressed to the Workflow Management Coalition.

XPDL version 2.0 is back-compatible with XPDL version 1.0, and is intended to be used as a file format for BPMN. The original purpose of XPDL is maintained and enhanced by this second version of the specification.  The XPDL and the BPMN specifications address the same modeling problem from different perspectives. XPDL provides an XML file format that can be used to interchange process models between tools. BPMN provides a graphical notation to facilitate human communication between business users and technical users, of complex business processes.
There are a number of elements that are present in BPMN version 1.0 but were not present in XPDL version 1.0. Those had been incorporated into this version of XPDL.
The WfMC has identified five functional interfaces to a process or workflow service as part of its standardization program. This specification forms part of the documentation relating to “Interface one” - supporting Process Definition Import and Export. This interface includes a common meta-model for describing the process definition (this specification) and also a companion XML schema for the interchange of process definitions.

Comments can be posted in the WfMC discussion forum here

Historical Documents Interface 1

Workflow Process Definition Interface -- XML Process Definition Language (XPDL)
Document Number WFMC-TC-1025
(PDF 499kb)
or WinWord zipped version (630kb)
(October 25, 2002) Document Status – 1.0
TC-1025_schema_10_xpdl.xsd (TC-1025_schema_10_xpdl.xsd) (23 kb)

XPDL Samples
Credit Service
Order Schema
Sample Workflow

WfMC-TC-1016-P V 1.1 Final  510Kb pdf (October '99)
Process Definition Q & A and Examples
(WfMC-TC-1016-X)  174Kb pdf
If19807r10.pdf Process Definition Interchange Process Model TC-1016-P. 7.05 Beta
August 5, 1998.
Document Number WfMC TC-1016-P-"Interface 1:
Process Definition Interchange Process Model"
Document Number WfMC TC-1016-M-"Interface 1:
Process Definition Interchange Meta Model
Document Number WfMC TC-1016-O-"Interface 1:
Process Definition Interchange Organizational Model

Interface 2 - Workflow Client Application Application Programming Interface
(Interface 2 & 3) Specification

(WFMC-TC-1009 - Specification) V 2.0 494Kb pdf 
(WFMC-TC-1013 - Naming Conventions) V 1.4 74Kb pdf
(WfMC-TC-1009 - Specification) V 1.1 207Kb pdf

Working Group 2 - Client Application APIs
  WAPI Version 2.0e Specification TC-1009 October '97

Interface 3 - Invoked Applications
now amalgamated into Interface 2, TC-1009.

Interface 4 - Interoperability


Learn more about the ASAP/Wf-XML 2.0 live demo

  Wf-XML 2.0 (Current Draft) 441kb PDF
wfxml20.xsd (updated November 2005) 7kb
  Wf-XML 2.0/ASAP (October 2003)
ASAP_WfXML_2003_10.zip (zipped 158kb)
XML Based Protocol for Run-Time Integration of Process Engines
This document will:

Provide an executive overview


Specify the goals of WF-XML as an extension of AWSP.


Explain how resource (object) model works and how URIs are used to invoke methods of those resources.


Specify preliminary details of the interface methods and parameters
The discussion forum for feedback has been set up


Background Information
AWSP (Asynchronous Web Services Protocol )  June 2002 (Historical Reference ONLY)
(awsp-2002-04-05.zip).( zipped 497kb.)
In April 2002 at the San Francisco meeting of wfmc, the AWSP (Asynchronous Web Services Protocol was presented, discussed, and found to meet all the goals that had been identified at the Muenster meeting.  These goals specifically were (Layer on top of SOAP, Use XML Schema representation, Multiple Observers, Subscribe/Unsubscribe,Set process instance data).  Since that time: this work has evolved into the ASAP technical committee of OASIS, and has been entirely subsumed by that other work.  Please use this document only for historical reference, and refer instead to the ASAP working group (http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=asap) for current implementation information.


Interoperability Wf-XML Binding Version 1.1 FINAL (read press release)
Document Number WFMC-TC-1023  (Zipped WinWord 629k)
Document Number WFMC-TC-1023 
(PDF Format 211K)
The XML language described herein, Wf-XML, can be used to implement the three models of interoperability defined in the Interoperability Abstract specification. Specifically, chained workflows, nested workflows and parallel-synchronized workflows are supported. Wf-XML supports these three types of interchanges both synchronously and asynchronously, and allows messages to be exchanged individually or in batch operations. Furthermore, this specification describes a language that is independent of any particular implementation mechanism, such as programming language, data transport mechanism, OS/hardware platform, etc. However, because HTTP is expected to be the most prevalent data transport mechanism used for interchanging Wf-XML messages, this specification provides a description of how Wf-XML messages are to be interchanged using this protocol.

This document represents a specification for a language based on the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) designed to model the data transfer requirements set forth in the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC)’s Interoperability Abstract specification. This language will be used as the basis for concrete implementations of the functionality described in the Interoperability Abstract supporting the WfMC’s Interface 4, as defined by the Workflow Reference Model .

This version (1.1) of the Wf-XML specification is fully backward compatible with its previous version (1.0). For the sake of clarity, the term “backward-compatible” is used here to mean that all changes made to the specification in this version have been additive, making it is a superset of version 1.0. For a more detailed explanation of conformance implications, see section 6 Conformance.

  Working Group 4 - Workflow Interoperability
  Document Number IS980706-"Issues"
  Document Number M980706-WfMC Workflow Standard -
 "Interoperability Internet e-mail MIME Binding"
  Mime Binding Version 1.1e
  Mime Binding Version 1.1f  

Abstract Specification WFMC-TC-1012 (PDF) November '99 2.0a 208KB
Abstract Specification (WFMC-TC-1012, 20-Oct-96, 1.0) 147Kb pdf


Internet e-mail MIME Binding
(WFMC-TC-1018, 7-Jan-2000, Version 1.2) 373Kb pdf

  Proposal for an Asynchronous HTTP binding of Wf-XML June 1, 2000
This document represents a workflow protocol that aims for interoperable, reliable and practical interactions between services using HTTP protocol. This protocol is based on Wf-XML and extended for the sake of enterprise EDI applications.
(66 pages PDF 184kb OR Zipped file 159kb)

Interoperability Wf-XML Binding (May 8, 2000) 
Wf-XML Binding Document Number WFMC-TC-1023 
Wf-XML v1.0 DTD (for developers)
This document represents a specification for an XML language designed to model the data transfer requirements set forth in the Workflow Management Coalition’s Interoperability Abstract specification (WFMC-TC-1012) [1]. This language will be used as the basis for concrete implementations of the functionality described in the abstract in order to support the WfMC’s Interface 4 (as defined by the workflow reference model [2]).(41 pages WinWord, Zipped 174KB)


Access database of tracked Wf-XML comments  (courtesy of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Interface 5 - Audit Data Specification


Interface 5 – Issues and Directions  (876 kb, zip) (April 2003)
PDF Version (4MB)
Presented at TC meeting by Michael zur Muehlen, Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Stevens Institute of Technology,
Hoboken, NJ


Discussion thread on the new audit trail format in the TC section of the has been set up


(WFMC-TC-1015, 22-Sep-98, 1.1) 211Kb pdf

  Working Group 5 - Administration & Monitoring
  IF5 Version 1.1 Beta

Interface 6 -

  Working Group 6 - OMG
  jointFlow submission

Interface 7

  Working Group 7 - Conformance
  Conformance Statement
  Conformance Document
The discussion of technical and organizational issues relating to standards conformance has been moved to a web-based forum, kindly hosted by Michael zur Muehlen. Access the forum at www.workflow-research.de/Forums. Once you register for the forum, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Michael will immediately add you to the group WfMC Members, which gives you full access right to the members-only discussion groups.

Interface 8

  Working Group 8 - Reference Model
  Glossary German Version Discussion Paper
English: 198Kb pdf (Revised)
French: (of Version 2.0) : 68Kb pdf

SWAP Working Group

WfMC General Publications
Please ensure that you have the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat when downloading these documents, otherwise you may encounter font and other format errors. 


The Workflow Reference Model: 10 Years On (570kb PDF) February 2004
David Hollingsworth, Fujitsu Services, United Kingdom; Chair, Technical Committee, WfMC.
extracted from Workflow Handbook 2004

Last year saw the 10th anniversary of the Workflow Reference Model. This short paper reassesses the relevance of the Model in the current context of Business Process Management. It discusses the principles behind the Model, its strengths and weakness and examines how it remains relevant to the industry today. It concludes by introducing a number of considerations required to establish a “BPM Reference Model” and discusses how the various overlapping standards in this space may be categorised.


ASAP/Wf-XML 2.0 Cookbook in Workflow Handbook 2004
Keith D. Swenson, Fujitsu Software Corporation
This paper is for those who have a process engine of some sort, and wish to implement a Wf-XML interface. At first, this may seem like a daunting task because the specifications are thick and formal. But, as you will see, the basic capability can be implemented quickly and easily. This paper will take you through the basics of what you need to know in order to quickly set up a foundation and demonstrate the most essential functions. The rest of the functionality can rest on this foundation. The approach is to do a small part of the implementation in order to understand how your particular process engine will fit with the protocol.


Does Better Math Lead to Better Business Processes? (November 2003)
Why Business Process Management and its predecessor, workflow management, are not simply an extension to the theory of pi-calculus and why pi-calculus is not the only ans
wer to the BPM debate.
by Jon Pyke and Roger Whitehead


Process Management Standards Overview (April 2003)
Dr. Michael zur Muehlen, Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ


BPM Booming in Asia Pacific
By Linus Chow, HandySoft, Pacific Rim


The Workflow Reference Model: 10 Years On (570 kb PDF)
David Hollingsworth, Fujitsu Services, United Kingdom; Chair, Technical Committee, WfMC.
extracted from Workflow Handbook 2004



Workflow and Process Management (25-page PDF extracted from the Workflow Handbook 2003) byCarol Prior, Maestro BPE Pty Limited, Australia


An Introduction to Workflow (20 pages PDF)
by Charles Plesums (Fellow, USA) extracted from the Workflow Handbook 2002


Workflow: An Introduction by  Rob Allen, (Fellow, UK)
Extracted from from the Workflow Handbook 2001 (24 pages PDF)

  Workflow BizTalk Framework Schema Description
This schema defines a language used to exchange information among Workflow Management Systems. Information marked up in compliance with this language is used to initiate, monitor and control business processes in/by remote systems.

The Key to e-Commerce and to Process Scalability
Article by Working Group 4 (PDF 12 pages, 73 kb)


White paper: Stand-alone and embedded workflow management systems.  
8 pages, PDF format
Michael Zur Muehlen and Rob Allen. March 10, 2000
This paper distinguishes, at a high level, the differences between workflow engines and simple trigger routines. Its main function is to clarify the segmentation between autonomous and embedded workflow deployment.


White Paper - Events
David Hollingsworth, ICL A&TC. 11 pages, WinWord. April 99.
This document contains a proposed approach for classifying and handling the processing associated with Events. It includes proposals for extensions to I/Fs 1, 2/3 and 4 (and potentially audit data which may be associated with particular event occurrences). It builds upon the proposals originally made by Steve Dworkin (May 1998) and earlier draft notes from Klaus Dieter  Kreplin, Dave Holllingsworth and Mike Anderson.


Discussion Paper - A Common Object Model
Document Number - WfMC-TC-1023, by David Hollingsworth, ICL A&TC. March 99. 16 pages, WinWord.
This document describes the current status of the WfMC standardization program and identifies the current work on object related standards which includes interface bindings for both OLE Automation and OMG/IDL objects. The scope of the current Reference Model is discussed, plus possible extensions to support a lower granularity component architecture, internal to the workflow enactment service, as a complement to existing work focused on the service functions provided at the boundary of a workflow enactment service. This is postulated on the basis of defining a common underlying object model which can be mapped to the two important component architectures emerging in the industry, the OMG object architecture and services and the ActiveX/DCOM architecture.


Workflow Interoperability - Enabling E-Commerce
April 1, 1999 WfMC White Paper 83kb pdf


Workflow and the Internet: Catalysts for Radical Change
June 11, 1998. WfMC announces major White Paper.


JSA Interworkflow Definition
Feb 1997  (WfMC TC 2102) 98kb pdf

Presentation by Kanagawa Institute of Technology
on Interworkflow Management System
(Tokyo, Dec 3, 1999)  193kb  


Reference Model - The Workflow Reference Model
(WFMC-TC-1003, 19-Jan-95, 1.1) 211Kb pdf


Terminology & Glossary
(WFMC-TC-1011, Feb-1999, 3.0)
English: 198Kb pdf
French: (of Version 2.0) : 68Kb pdf
German: 198kb


Workflow Security Considerations
White Paper 54Kb pdf