An approval workflow task allows for two possible outcomes: positive and negative. As with all workflow task types, the General tab must be filled out to proceed, the others (Notifications and Escalation) are optional.
A serial workflow task is a single, in-line process flow going from one user to another. As with all workflow task types, the General tab or Conditional tab must be filled out to proceed, while the others (Notifications and Escalation) are optional.
Parallel tasks are used when tasks can be completed at the same time as the preceding task rather than waiting for the previous task to be completed. A parallel workflow task allows multiple tasks to be assigned/completed concurrently. You may only select the parallel task option after an initial serial workflow task has been added to the workflow.
VisualVault allows you to assign the same user or group to multiple, adjacent, parallel tasks or assign different users or groups to adjacent parallel tasks. Parallel task assignments can result in the same user being assigned multiple different tasks simultaneously, or different users being assigned tasks which can be completed concurrently, rather than sequentially.
As with all workflow task types, the General tab or Conditional tab must have user/group assignments and descriptions assigned to proceed, other task tabs (Notifications and Escalation) are optional.
Outside Approval Process
An outside approval process is a feature allowing the workflow engine to pass data to customized business rules. When an outside approval task sequence is initiated, VisualVault calls an Outside Process (web service) and passes context information about the Document or Form associated with the workflow. The Outside Process can perform custom business logic and must return a true/false response to the the VisualVault workflow engine. This feature may be used in conjunction with the VisualVault API or other Application API's to further automate business processes.
Refer to the VisualVault Developer site at developer.visualvault.com
for additional information and code examples.
The following sections discuss each of the tabs in a workflow task's properties screen and describe the fields found within each tab.
The workflow task type is selected from the drop down Task Type list. The General screen along with a description of all the fields for an approval task is shown below.
| Task Type ||The type of workflow task. Can be Approval, Serial, or Parallel. ||X ||X ||X ||X |
| Task Description |
|The phrase that will appear on the users task list when they are assigned the sequence. ||X ||X ||X ||X |
| Due Date |
|Date when task should be completed and measured for escalation. (The graphic below is in international date format.) ||X ||X ||X ||X |
|Select Approval Option Name |
|Select Accept/Reject, Approve/Deny, Pass/Fail, or Yes/No depending on what approval wordage you want displayed in the task. (Refer to Installation Guide on how to modify and add customer approval selection options.) ||X || || ||X |
| Text to Display when Workflow Task is Complete |
|Determines what the task status displays after the user has completed the task. || ||X ||X || |
|Status Message |
|The message that will be visible as the Workflow Status in the Form Data Dashboards or when viewing the current status of a workflow. ||X ||X ||X ||X |
| Weighting |
|Assigns the weight the sequence has in the workflow. The higher the weight, the higher the percentage of completion goes up when the task is completed. ||X ||X ||X ||X |
| Show Quick Route Link |
|Gives the user completing the task the ability of quickly routing a document or form on the fly to a user not originally included in the workflow. (See the Quick Route section on this page for more details.) ||X ||X ||X ||X |
| Task Assignment Option |
| Determines whether user(s)/group(s) will approve the task, or if an outside process will complete the approval. Select "Assign to users" to route task to users, select "Assign to Outside Process" if a .NET custom code assembly will approve this sequence. (See the Approval Ouside Process section for more details.) ||X || |
| Include Comment Field |
| Gives an additional field when completing tasks that allows the user to comment on the task they are completing. ||X ||X ||X || |
|Out of Sequence Option |
|Allows the user assigned the approval task to vote before the workflow reaches the approval sequence in which the user is assigned. Thus, the user can complete the task before they are notified in the MyVault task list. ||X || || || |
| Queue Mode |
|Sets the task to be in a queue mode where one user can start working on a task and remove the task for other users task lists. Default is Normal Mode. (See the Task Modes section on this page for more details regarding the two task mode types.) ||X ||X ||X ||X |
| Send E-mail Notifications to Users |
| Configures VisualVault to notify users of a task when they are assigned a task. This is enabled by default. ||X ||X ||X || |
| Require Authentication to Vote |
| Force the user to key in their VisualVault login password when completing a task to validate their identity. This can be enabled manually, or will be enabled on form workflows when a signature stamp requires authentication. ||X || || || |
| Add Originator to Selected Approvers |
|Add the originator to the list of approvers when this task is active. ||X || || || |
| Add Supervisor to Selected Approvers |
| Add the supervisor of the originator to the list of approvers when this task is active. ||X || || || |
| Task Assignment (Member Selection) |
|Allows for selection of one to many users assigned to task. If supervisor is selected (approval tasks only), all users configured as the user's supervisor will receive a notification to approve this task. ||X ||X ||X || |
Workflow Approval General View
VisualVault requires you to enter a Task Description (which is presented as part of the Task to the assignee. At least one assigned approver must be assigned on the General tab or as an assignment on the Conditions tab. If you select the "Search" button when the "Search for" box is empty, VisualVault will provide you a list of all users. Otherwise, by typing a few characters of the user name, a parsed list is generated. Users can leave the Assigned members list blank on the General tab as long as they have configured users on the conditional workflow tab.
Go to the Approval Tab if you want to change the conditions of how the Positive and Negative outcomes are handled. A positive, or approved sequence will always allow the workflow to continue. However, you can define whether a group approval requires all assigned users to vote, or whether a single vote is appropriate in this tab. Voting is handled in the following manner:
All Vote - All must vote for positive outcome to continue, but only one needs to reject an approval for the negative outcome to be followed. This setting will cause the workflow to follow the negative outcome as soon as any user rejects the approval, even if there are users who have still yet to vote.
All Vote & All Must Vote before continuing - All must vote before a workflow follows the positive or negative outcome paths. The difference between this configuration and the previous is that this setting will require all users to vote before making a final decision, even if a negative vote has already been cast. Note that this does not mean decision-making is left to the majority decision. The workflow will still follow the negative outcome if any of the users have cast a negative vote.
One Vote - Only one user needs to accept or reject an approval task (on a first come, first served basis) for the workflow to continue as configured.
In the event an approval task is deemed rejected (negative outcome), there are three options on how to handle further processing of the workflow. Refer to the How to Set up a Rejection Path section on this page for steps on how to configure the rejection path.
Continue the workflow - Workflow continues to next sequence.
End the workflow - Workflow is terminated immediately and all further task sequences will not be followed.
Return to a Previous Task - Workflow is returned to the sequence specified. This option allows the re-submission of the item to be approved.
Business process owners who configure the approval task can create a scenario where they have the ability to follow up on every task whether it was approved or rejected. This scenario can be created by using the right rejection or negative outcome and notification. It is recommended to carefully establish these workflows in accordance to the desired business process, as document or forms may fall short to the follow up of the business process if not properly configured. However, there is a workflow history for every object inside VisualVault, which can be used to resolve items that have not been completed fully, and to view the result and tasks of the completed workflow.
Workflow Approval View
The Notification section of a Workflow Task Type is meant to notify the originator or other users when a task is accepted or rejected. The Notify configuration screen for a Parallel or Serial Task Type will only have the top section of the screen below. The following are a list of common fields on the Notify screen:
Send Notification on Accept - enable the notification type for the task.
Send Notification to Originator - select the Originator link to add originator to the Selected Users list. VisualVault will notify the originator when a task is accepted or rejected. (Not on Ad hoc workflows)
Search for - search field used for finding users to be selected in the User List.
User List - list of available users. Displayed after Search for field is entered, or select Search button to show all the users.
Selected Users - list of users selected to be notified.
Message to include in Notification - message to include with each notification.
Fields under the Reject Notification have the same functionality as the Accept Notification. Workflow Notification View
Configuring escalations into a workflow can assist a company's business rules and ensure that the employees are responsive to assigned tasks. It also aids in giving visibility into tasks that tend to be forgotten. Escalation becomes configurable for any Task Type. Serial and Parallel Task Types allow for reassignment of a task through escalation. Approval Task Types only allow for notification. The escalation has the following items to configure:
This options allows for a notification for given days before or after the due date. A negative number may be entered to cause a notification to be sent out before the task becomes due.
Enable Warning Notification - enable escalation notification. Without this setting enabled, escalation will not happen.
Send notification when task is X days past due - set the number of days past set due date when notification happens. This can be a negative number for notifications prior to the escalation date.
Send notification to assigned user - who will be notified of incomplete task.
Search for - search field to select specific users who should be notified of a past due task.
User List - list of available users to select. Must select Search button to get a full user list.
Selected Users - users selected to receive notifications of escalation.
Message to include in notification - custom message to send users when an escalation email is sent out.
Enable Deadline Reassignment - enable reassignment of task as part of escalation.
Reassign when task is X days past due - reassign when x days are past due date. This must be a number greater than zero.
Search for - search for user to reassign task.
UserList - available users to select for reassignment
Message to include in assignment notification - (not shown below) custom message to include with escalation reassignments of task.
Workflow Escalation View
When an Escalation reassignment occurs, the user who checked in the document, or filled out the form will be notified in conjunction with the new user who was assigned the escalated task. Other users may be notified if they are selected on the Escalation tab.
A Task Sequence is a step in the workflow. Task sequences can be configured to be in a certain mode depending on the way that the users will need to use the task sequence when a task is assigned to them. There are two types of modes for a task sequence. The following sections will explain these modes.
The Normal mode is the default mode for every task sequence configured in VisualVault. When tasks are assigned in the normal mode, the user will be required to simply complete their work and then complete their task in VisualVault. The normal mode typically is used when all users assigned need to complete their task.
The Queue mode is an added mechanism for configuring a task sequence. When this mode is enabled for a task sequence, a group of users are notified of the task. One of the assigned users will take over the task, essentially keeping it assigned to themselves while removing it from the other users' task lists. If the user later decides they cannot complete the work, they may return the task to the queue. When the task is returned to the queue, all the users once again will have the task placed into their task list. In the event that a user who has taken over a task is both unavailable and unable to complete the task, the Queue Mode allows one of the original assigned users to pull the task back into the queue and begin working on the task themselves.
This type of mode is typically used in circumstances where a group of people need to be notified of a task, but only one person of the group needs to complete the work.
Refer to Working with a Queue Mode section of Managing Active Tasks for more information.
The term originator is used primarily with document and form workflows. The user who uploads a document or submits a form are considered the originator. When the originator is a public user, or someone fills in a form publicly without logging into VisualVault, there will be no supervisor assigned to that originator. This may stop a workflow if you are relying upon the originator to assign a task.
Quick Route gives users the capability of adding an additional task sequence into the workflow on the fly (while the workflow is already in progress). This added capability increases the flexibility users have when working with workflows in VisualVault. Customers may use this functionality when a workflow has defined stringent elements, but also have dynamic elements where the workflow may need to be routed to a certain individual due to special circumstances.
This capability is available in a Routing Form Control, forms workflows or document workflows. By default, this capability is not enabled on a workflow task sequence. Users must make the conscious decision that any task in the workflow will include this capability. Any type of task sequence can be configured to have this capability. The following sections of this topic will discuss how to configure each of the areas where quick routing can be configured. Refer to the topic, Adding a Workflow Task via Quick Route section below for a guide on how to use the quick route feature.
Configuring Quick Route in a Workflow Task
When configuring a workflow task so that the Quick Route functionality is available, you will utilize the same techniques for every task type. After you have inserted a task, if you want to allow Quick Routing when this task is active, select the Show Quick Route Link check box located at the bottom of the following image.
Quick Route Configuration View
Configuring a Routing Form Control
The other location where the Quick Route Functionality can be enabled is in the Form Template or Form Designer interface. In that interface you will insert a Routing Link field onto the form. Then begin to configure its properties. Refer to the Properties documentation on what each item on the properties will do for the Quick Route capability.
When you begin to complete a task in your task list, you may have several scenarios in your mind where you will want to use Quick Route to add someone into the workflow on the fly. The first situation might be that you have a desire to assign a task, or route a form or document to someone who is not usually included in the workflow. An alternative scenario might be that your workflow is not rigidly established so you need the capability of creating the workflow at a decision point or at a certain Workflow Task. In the above circumstances a workflow task sequence needs to be configured to support this capability ahead of time, or a form Routing Link needs to have been placed on the form. In this topic we will discuss how to use the Quick Route capability when it is configured for a current task.
Adding a Workflow task via Quick Route
In order to Add a Workflow task via Quick Route, complete the following steps:
Select the Quick Route link from your assigned task.
Quick Route Link View
Key in the Task Description
Select a Due Date
Select where you want the current task inserted. (After Current Task, Before Current Task, End of Workflow)
Select the User or Group you want assigned to the task that will be created.
Select Add Task
Quick Route Assignment View
If you want to know that the user completed their task, you should insert the quick routed task before the current task, unless you are already included later on in the workflow.
How to Set Up a Rejection Path
When designing workflows within VisualVault, business process owners will need the ability of mapping out the business processes and providing a path for workflows sequences that have been rejected. This is commonly known as the rejection path, or negative outcome path. One example of this rejection path that needs to be configured might be when a document or form is passed through a change control board for approval. The business owner of this process will need to have the ability of possibly routing the document or form back to the originator or someone at a previous sequence or step in the workflow in order to keep the process moving.
Rejection paths can only be configured for approval type tasks.
To configure the rejection path of an approval workflow, complete the following steps:
Navigate to the workflow that needs to be configured.
Modify or Insert the approval task that will be the decision point where a document will continue or return through the rejection path to a previous sequence.
Navigate to the Approval tab of the Approval task sequence that is the decision point.
Select the appropriate action from the rejection options, and if the "Return to a Previous Task" option is chosen, select the desired sequence from the drop-down menu.
Select Save Changes.
Configuring Rejection Path View
Business Process Owners can configure Notifications in conjunction with Negative Option Outcomes to notify employees of a step being rejected.