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Chapter 3 - Workflow

3B. Workflow Setup & Options

Workflow Setup & Options - Introduction

A Workflow, also referred to as a Proof Routing Flow (PRF) or Flow, is the name given to a collection of settings used to create a logical route between connected Tasks. A Workflow consists of one or more steps, each one containing a Task plus a variety of associated settings. The Task is a predefined question, notification, or instruction which prompts the recipient(s) to complete an activity, and then when they have finished, provide a response or Decision to confirm it has been completed. Any combination of Tasks and expected responses can be created which will allow for very refined communication. Tasks, responses, and invitations are completely customizable which means localized terminology and languages can be tailored specifically for intended audiences.

Workflow Planning

Before creating a new workflow, the first step should be to plan out the details of what needs to be accomplished and by whom for each step. This allows for the entire process to be defined and agreed upon by all parties. These are some of the typical questions which should be answered as part of the planning phase:

  • What needs to be achieved? (Upload Proofs, Review, Approval, etc.)
  • When must it be completed? (Project, Task, and Step deadlines)
  • Who will be asked to do it? (Guests, Users, Groups / Teams)
  • What are the expected responses for this process? (Decision options)
  • Where should the Proof route to when a specific response is received?

Workflow Concepts

The settings available within a workflow allow multiple Steps with conditions to be defined which determine the connection between them. Connected Steps can be arranged in almost unlimited layouts including branches, circular or multi-directional flow. This offers great flexibility for the interactions between the approval stakeholders. Movement between connected workflow steps can be triggered by multiple conditions: single or team responses to a Task, reaching a step/task/project deadline, or the result of an Action.

As well as more complex arrangements, it’s possible to define simple sequential or linear workflows in Aproove. A linear flow design has Steps that are arranged one after the other, in a straight line. This type of workflow is often complimented by similarly simple conditions to move the flow to the next step (e.g. the completion of the previous step task).

Workflow Setup & Options - Types & Concepts

To manage Workflows, log into the admin tool and navigate to Projects → Sections template.

This section will walk through what it takes to set up a simple workflow using basic settings and then assign it to a Project Type and Global Group so it will be available to Users. These workflows are also referred to as workflow templates because a copy of the configuration is made when a new Project is created. This means that an existing Project will not be affected if the workflow is modified afterward.

As a prerequisite, the Decision buttons and Tasks used in the workflow will need to be created first. For more information on how to do this, see the Workflow → Tasks & Decision Buttons section in this Admin Guide.

Creating a new workflow template

There are two methods for creating a new workflow template; creating a new empty workflow and duplicating an existing workflow as a template, then modifying it for your specific needs. This section will walk through creating a new empty workflow from scratch.

To do this start by entering the name of the workflow you would like to create and then select the Add button:

Workflow Add New

After creating the workflow, choose it from the pulldown list on the left to bring it up. Select the 'Version 2' checkbox and then choose Save. This will enable the workflow to be a version 2 (v2) workflow that contains all of the latest workflow features. In a future release, this setting will be automatic and the checkbox itself will be deprecated.

Workflow Add New2-1

Project Creation

An Aproove workflow contains two distinct phases, the first is called Project creation and the second is the Flow. The Project creation phase handles how files or Proofs will be added to the Project, including who will be assigned to upload them. The Flow phase contains all of the other workflow steps and Tasks after the initial files have been uploaded and the Proofs are generated. Typically the initial Project creation phase only requires relatively simple logic before moving onto the main Flow phase.

For this phase, create the Proof Upload step by typing the name of the step and then clicking "Add STEP" to create it.

Workflow Add New3-1

At minimum in the Task settings, a task should be assigned. In this case, "Sample - Proof Upload" was chosen.

You can also adjust the Duration to the desired number of days before the step will reach the deadline.

Workflow Add New4-1

If no Users are added to a Task, you can enter them at the time of Project creation or during the Project lifecycle. By adding Users to a Task, they will then be part of the template. This means the next time the workflow is used when creating a Project, the Users will be automatically assigned to the Task. To assign Users, select the User icon:

Workflow Add New5

Expand the Contacts tab, select the User, and click "Add selected" to add them to the workflow step. Click "Close" to exit the window.

Workflow Add New7

As shown below, the User has been added to the step.

Workflow Add New8

Flow

After the Project creation phase of a workflow, the Flow phase begins. This phase contains the remaining steps in the workflow and can also include the uploading of additional files and Proof revisions.

This sample workflow will consist of a simple review cycle and revision upload.

Create the following 4 steps by first entering the step names and clicking "Add STEP".

  • Internal Review
  • Customer Review
  • Upload Revision
  • Done

Workflow Add New8b

After all 4 steps had been created, arrange them in the workflow diagram as shown below and select the 'Save' button.

Workflow Add New9

Click on the "Internal Review" step in the workflow diagram to select it and display the step settings. Select the "Sample - Internal Review" Task from the dropdown. To route the decision buttons within the task to the correct step, set the Approved decision to "Customer Review" and the Rejected decision to "Upload Revision". Click "Save" to commit changes.

Step 1 - Internal Review

Workflow Add New10-2

Assign a User to this step in the "Step groups" section.

Workflow Add New11-1

Step 2 - Customer Review

Click on the "Customer Review" step in the workflow diagram to select it and display the step settings. Select the "Sample - Customer Review'" Task from the dropdown. To route the decision buttons within the task to the correct step, set the Approved decision to "Done" and the Rejected decision to "Upload Revision." Click "Save" to commit changes.

Workflow Add New12-1

Assign a User to this step in the "Step groups" section.

Workflow Add New13

Step 3 - Upload Revision

Click on the "Upload Revision" step in the workflow diagram to select it and display the step settings. Select the "Sample - Upload Revision'" Task from the dropdown. To route the decision button within the task to the correct step, set the Upload Finished decision to "Internal Review". Click "Save" to commit changes.

Workflow Add New14-1

Assign a User to this step in the "Step groups" section.

Workflow Add New15

Step 4 - Done

Click on the "Done" step in the workflow diagram to select it and display the step settings. This step does not need a Task assigned or any setting configured - it serves as a milestone where the workflow will end.

Workflow Add New16-3

The last step to creating a workflow is to save the updated workflow diagram by selecting the Save button.

Note: This diagram is the one that is displayed when viewing the Project workflow in the Dashboard interface.

Workflow Add New17

Workflow Access

To make this workflow available, it needs to be added to a Project Type and then that Project Type needs to be assigned to a Global Group where Users that will be using the workflow are members.

To assign the new workflow to a Project Type, select it from the Flow pulldown list and then save the changes.

Workflow Config1

To assign the Project Type to a Global group, navigate to Users & Groups → Global groups.

Select the Group, and click "Project type". Select the Project type and click Right Arrow to move it to Assigned Project configuration. Click "Save".

Workflow Config2-1

 

Workflow Setup & Options - Advanced Setup

Workflow Settings

The workflow settings are located under the workflow dropdown. These settings can only be adjusted in this view and they will take affect the next time a Project is created with this workflow.

Advanced Workflow1

  • Workflow rename - The name of the workflow can be changed by editing it in the black box.
  • Version 2 - This will enable the workflow to be a version 2 (v2) workflow which contains all of the latest workflow features.
  • Force all proofs in one batch for the whole flow - Keeps all Proofs together as they move through the workflow.
  • ONE DEFAULT - ???
  • Duplicate flow - Makes a copy of the current workflow.

Step Configurations

Settings

The Settings tab contains the configurations for the step including naming, deadlines, conflict managers and task behavior.  The definitions are broken down into the numbered groups below.

Advanced Workflow2

Group 1

  • Duplicate step - Duplicates the selected step.
  • Remove step - Removes the selected step from the Flow.
  • REMOVE REVISION 1 - Deletes all of the steps from the Flow phase.


Group 2

  • Step Name - Rename the existing step
  • Color - Changes the color of the step in the workflow diagram
  • Order - Sequential step number
  • Font Color - Changes the font color of the step in the workflow diagram


Group 3

  • Use absolute date - Enforces the deadline date and time as defined by the Task. If unchecked, it allows for the use of a relative deadline date for the step.
  • Use business days - Business days are used when calculating the step deadline (Saturday, Sunday, and configured Holidays are skipped by the calculation). 
  • Force round time - Setting to round the step deadline to the configured time.
  • Limit to project deadline - Setting to limit the step deadline to be no longer than the Project deadline.
  • Duration - Sets the step deadline in days & hours.
  • Use formula date - Enables a formula to be used to calculate a step deadline. When this setting is checked an edit button appears to the right of the setting with a text input field plus 2 select menus underneath:
    • Select Internal tag - choose from project deadline date/start date/creation date or a custom metadata field
    • Select metadata key - choose from global metadata


Group 4

  • Step pulldown - On conflict on deadline, will move Proofs to the selected step in the workflow.
  • Select conflict manager - On a deadline conflict, a task to the assigned conflict manager is sent to resolve the conflict
  • Select metadata key - will contain the email address of the contact manager. If a contact group is selected, the task will become a team task


Group 5

  • Release behavior
    • Release immediately - Immediately advances the workflow once the step is complete.
    • Release on project start - The step starts at the same time the Project starts. This setting is used for Projects that have a start date set in the future.
    • Release manually - The step is put on hold preventing it from executing. The hold needs to be manually released in order for the step to proceed.
  • Time offset for release - Delay the release of the step based on the configured days and hours.


Group 6

  • Task dropdown - Pulldown list of all of the available Tasks in the system.
  • Customize message - Setting to allow for the Task message to be customized for this step. ???
  • User rights - Setting to allow for the User rights to be modified for this step.
  • Decision behavior dropdown
    • At least one answer is - If multiple Users are configured for the Task, only 1 User has to respond for the Task to be completed.
    • All answers are - If multiple Users are configured for the Task, all Users need to respond for the Task to be completed.
      • Note: If this option is chosen a conflict manager option will be shown so a conflict on decision manager can be assigned.
  • Available decision answer buttons - Depending on the Task, all available decision answer buttons will be shown. A dropdown for each one will be available for routing the workflow to the next step.


Group 7

  • Language dropdown - Setting to allow for the Task language to be changed for the step.
  • User color - Setting to allow for the annotation color to be changed in the Proofing Viewer for the step.
  • Expose external guest identity - Will show User information on annotations for Guests invited to the step instead of the User information who invited the Guest.
  • Allow creator to edit guests tasks - ???
  • Notify guest and reset task on change - Guests assigned to a Step Task will be notified of settings changes and receive a new Task invite? What change(s) in a Task triggers this???
  • Split task
    • No split - All files will be sent together in one task 
    • Per file - One task per file will be sent 
    • Per proof - One task per page for each file will be sent


Step Groups

The Step groups tab contains the settings for the Users / Groups that are invited to the assigned Tasks.

If no Users are added to a Task, you can enter them at the time of Project creation or during the Project lifecycle. By adding Users to a Task, they will then be part of the template. This means the next time the workflow is used when creating a Project, the Users will be automatically assigned to the Task. To assign Users, select the User icon:

You can assign a Guest(s), Contact(s), or Metadata key to a step.

Workflow Add New5

Assigning a Guest

In the Guest tab, input the Email address, First name, and Last name of the Guest. Click "Add" to add them to the workflow step.

Advanced Workflow3

Assigning a Contact

Expand the Contacts tab, select the User, and click "Add selected" to add them to the workflow step.

Workflow Add New7

Assigning a Metadata Key

Expand the Metadata tab and from the "Select metadata key" dropdown, choose the key you wish to add.  To create a new metadata key, see XXX. The metadata Type defines the type of value the metadata key will expect to hold - email address(es), contact group(s), or JSON.

Checking "Create unassigned task if empty" will generate an unassigned task if there is no value assigned to the metadata key or it cannot be found.

Advanced Workflow4-2

As shown below, the Metadata Key has been added to the step.

Advanced Workflow5-1

To determine the Metadata type of an existing metadata key assigned as a Step Group user, hover over the metadata key name.

Advanced Workflow Metadata Hover

Setting the value of the Metadata Key

Unless the metadata value is set through a form or an action, the value must be set in the project config that will utilize this workflow. In the project config settings, click the Metadata tab.

Advanced Workflow Metadata Tab.

In the Key "Select metadata key" dropdown, choose the same metadata key you assigned in the workflow for the Step Group user. Input a value for the metadata key - the value should be set in accordance with the metadata type you selected for the Step Group metadata key. Once the value is added, click "Add".

  • Email - value(s) must be a text field that contains an email address. Separate multiple email addresses with a comma.
  • Contact group - value(s) must be a text field that contains the name of a Contact Group found in Users & groups > Teams > Team Name > Contacts > Groups.
  • JSON - value(s) must be a contact/group or multiple contact/group metadata key.

Note: the value of a metadata key can be set to the value of another metadata key.

Advanced Workflow Metadata Tab2-2

Setting the value of the Metadata Key

Multiple Step Groups at the same step can be configured independently. For example, Step Group 1 could be set to "Any Required" - a response from any member of the group will complete the task. And Step Group 2 could be set to "All Required" - all members of the group must answer the task to complete it.

To create a new Step group, type the name of the group and then click "Add group" at the bottom.

Advanced Workflow6


To define the step group behavior, select the newly created group.

Advanced Workflow7

The Available settings in this view are:

  • Step name - Allows you to rename the existing step group name.
  • Team task - Setting where any member of the assigned group can "take" a Task to assign it to themselves.
    • Note: Team Tasks will show up in a User's ToDo list but they will not be sent a Task notification.  ???
  • Step Group Condition
    • Any required - If multiple Users are configured for the Task, only 1 User has to respond for the Task to be completed.
    • All required - If multiple Users are configured for the Task, all Users need to respond for the Task to be completed.

Once a User or Group is assigned to the Step Group, the Task configured for the step in "Settings" will be assigned by default and show up on the same line.  The options available to the assigned User or Groups are:

  • Task - The Task for each step group can be reassigned to a task different from the one chosen in "Settings".
    • Note: This is normally used when assigning secondary Tasks to additional step groups.
  • Language - Setting to change the default language for this step.
  • Rights - Setting to modify the permissions assigned to the Task.
  • Allow next step users' choice - deprecated in HTML5???
  • Create unassigned task if empty - If a User or Group is not defined an empty Task will be created, otherwise, no Task will be created.
  • User colour - Changes the assigned annotation color for the Task.
  • X - Deletes the assigned User or Group from the Step Group.

Actions

Predefined Actions can be added to a workflow step and they are triggered based on the Task decisions. 

To add a new Action, select the trigger from the first dropdown. In addition to the Decision buttons available in the task assigned to this step, the following two selections are available:

  • [ANY ANSWER] - the action will trigger on any Decision button clicked at that step
  • [INPUT] - the action will run as soon as the workflow reaches this step, prior to workflow automation (such as sending tasks)

The second dropdown is a list of all available actions. After choosing the desired action, click "Add".

Advanced Workflow8

In this example, when the "Approved" Decision Button is clicked, the action "Send annotated PDF" will run.

An Action can be edited by clicking Pencil Icon. To control the execution order of multiple actions at the same step, adjust the Priority setting. An action with a Priority of 0 will run before an Action with a Priority of 1. To delete an action, click Trash Can Icon-1.

Note: when an action is added to a workflow, a copy of that action is saved into the workflow. Editing the template, will not update the copy and vice versa.

Advanced Workflow9

Security

To require an e-signature, select via checkbox the decision(s) you wish to enable it on. The User will be required to reenter their credentials when making a decision on the task at this step.

To activate two-factor authentication (2FA), select the checkbox. With this enabled, a verification code will be emailed to the User when they connect to the task at this step.

Advanced Workflow10

Static Proofs

When a section name matches the regular expression input here, that section shows within the task at this step.

To enable this feature, enter a valid regex into the field. In the example below, a section that either contains or begins with Details will show within the task.

Advanced Workflow11

Download

Sends an email with a download link.???

Advanced Workflow12

Time Tracking

In the selected step (only), allows overriding of the time tracking settings in the task definition.

Advanced Workflow13

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