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This paper presents UPME, a metamodel approach to software process modeling based on UML extension. In this approach, software process modeling will take three steps: firstly, a metamodel modeling step to build metamodels for software process domain; secondly, a model instantiation step to build the model for a concrete project based on domain metamodels; and thirdly, a model compilation step to translate the model into object-oriented code skeleton for process enactment. In these steps, UML and its extension mechanisms are used, and an instantiation description language is designed to write process instantiation scripts. We built the ISPW-6 process as example, and the result demonstrated that the UML based metamodel approach makes process modeling more reusable and easier. And the popularity of UML also makes this approach more acceptable in industry than other specialized process modeling languages (PMLs).