Uses of business process modeling in agile software development projects

Cielo González Moyano, Luise Pufahl, Ingo Weber, Jan Mendling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context: Agile methodologies and frameworks are widely used in software development projects because of their support for continuous change and delivery. Agile software development advocates de-prioritizing aspects such as processes and documentation. In traditional software engineering methodologies, however, business process models have been extensively used to support these aspects. Up until now, it is unclear to what extent recommendations to focus on code imply that conceptual modeling should be discontinued. Objective: The objective of this study is to investigate this hypothesis. More specifically, we develop a theoretical argument of how business process models are and can be used to support agile software development projects. Method: To this end, we use a multi-method study design. First, we conduct a systematic literature review, in which we identify studies on the usage of business process models in agile software development. Second, we apply procedures from thematic synthesis to analyze the connection between these uses and the phases of the development cycle. Third, we use a focus group design with practitioners to systematically reflect upon how these uses can help regarding four categories of challenges in agile software development: management, team, technology, and process. Results: From 37 relevant studies, we distill 15 different uses. The results highlight the benefits of process modeling as an instrument to support agile software development projects from different angles and in all project phases. Process modeling appears to be particularly relevant for the first phases of the development cycle, and for management and process issues in agile projects. Conclusion: We conclude that business process models indeed provide benefits for agile software development projects. Our findings have practical implications and emphasize the need for future research on modeling and agile development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107028
JournalInformation and Software Technology
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Agile methodologies
  • Focus group
  • Literature review
  • Multi-method
  • Process models
  • Thematic synthesis


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