Managing approval workflows¶
The Signavio Process Manager enables you do define and manage approval workflows for publishing diagrams. Approval workflows route a diagram to a predefined list of people, who need to approve that the diagram is ready to be published. This enables your organization to assure the quality of all diagrams published in the Collaboration Hub.
You can define approval workflows in Workflow Accelerator. In oder to define approval workflows, you do not need to purchase licenses for Workflow Accelerator in addition to your Signavio Editor & Decision Manager licenses.
To manage approval workflow feature, click Setup, then Manage approval workflows in the top drop-down menu of the Explorer.
Activating the approval workflow feature¶
If you opened the settings as explained above and if approval workflows are inactive a dialog will open and ask you to confirm to activate the feature. Please activate the check box below the short introduction text and click Activate:
Activate the approval workflow feature.
Click Next to confirm and start configuring the approval workflow preferences:
The activation was successful.
Now, you can manage your approval workflows.
Configuring Approval Workflows¶
In order to effectively use approval workflows, you should restrict your user’s rights to publish diagrams in the Collaboration Hub. Read more about access rights management in the section Managing users and access rights.
Now that the approval workflow feature is active, you can click Setup, then Manage Approval Workflows in the top drop-down menu of the Explorer in order to open the following configuration dialog:
The approval workflow configuration dialog
The dialog enables you to:
- Open your workspace in Workflow Accelerator
Clicking the link will open your Workflow Accelerator workspace in a new browser tab, so you can manage your tasks and processes (approval workflows) there.
- Manage approval workflows
All approval workflows defined in Workflow Accelerator (and the default approval workflow) are listed as links in this section. To edit an approval workflow, click the corresponding link.
Deactivate the approval workflow feature
In case you want to stop using the approval workflow feature, you can easily deactivate it.
Synchronize users with Workflow Accelerator
After you created new users in the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager, you need to synchronize the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager with Workflow Accelerator, so your new users can be included in your approval workflows. Click Synchronize users now to create a Workflow Accelerator account for all your Signavio Editor & Decision Manager users who did not have a Workflow Accelerator account before:
An alert will pop up, asking you to confirm the synchronization:
Confirm the synchronization.
Please note that in case your organization is using Workflow Accelerator for approval workflows in the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager only, synchronizing the work space will delete Workflow Accelerator users who have been previously deleted in the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager.
You can also edit the states a diagram can possibly be in within an approval workflow.
For this, you need to switch to the Diagram states tab.
The table in the Diagram states tab contains all states a diagram can be in. Icon and name of a state are displayed in the Signavio Explorer as soon as the state has been triggered for the corresponding diagram. In case the check box Publish is activated, a diagram will be automatically published in the Collaboration Hub after the corresponding status has been triggered (for this, it is, of course, necessary that your workspace has a Collaboration Hub).
Edit the states by clicking the corresponding table fields:
Edit the states a diagram can have within an approval workflows
The Reset expiration column is only relevant if you want to configure expiry frequencies for approvals.
Changes in state configuration (as well as the deletion or creation of new states) are automatically transferred to Workflow Accelerator and are instantly available when selecting states in the Workflow Accelerator workspace.
Click the + icon to add a new state:
Add a new state.
To delete a state, click the trash button next to the corresponding column and confirm the action:
Delete a state...
...and confirm the action.
You can assign diagram attributes for process participant roles. This enables you to define the roles of participants in processes within the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager. Workflow Accelerator, you can then assign approval tasks to these roles.
For example, the default approval workflow process is assigning the task business approval to the process owner role. This means that the business approval for a process is automatically assigned to the user whom you have defined as the process owner in the corresponding attribute.
To configure the Participants attributes, switch into the Participants tab.
Here, you can assign diagram attributes to Workflow Accelerator roles. This requires the creation of corresponding attributes on BPMN diagram level in the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager. Read more about custom attributes in the chapter Configuring notations and attributes.
Assign the attributes and save the configuration.
When creating or editing a business process diagram, you can now add the email addresses of the corresponding participants to these attributes.
Define process participants.
With this feature, you can only use the email addresses the corresponding users used to register themselves in Workflow Accelerator.
When configuring approval workflows in Workflow Accelerator (see below), you can now assign responsibilities to the different participants.
Configure expiry frequencies for approval workflows¶
You can set expiry dates for diagram approvals. This allows you to ensure your diagrams are regularly re-checked, for example to fulfill compliance rules.
To configure expiry frequencies, open the Approval Expiration tab of the approval workflow configuration dialog:
Open the ‘Approval Expiration’ tab.
By default, the expiry frequency is set to Never.
To define one static expiry frequency for all diagrams, set the drop-down menu Select how the timespan is determined to Fixed period.
Define a static fixed frequency for all diagrams.
Now, define the expiry frequency in the field Number of months. In our example, the system triggers a new approval workflow after twelve months.
To enable defining the expiry frequency per diagram, set Select how the timespan is determined to Custom attribute (type: number). Now select the attribute you want to use to configure the frequency. To learn how to configure custom attributes, read more at Configuring notations and attributes.
Define the expiry frequency via an attribute on diagram level.
Now, define the expiry frequency in the field Fallback value if attribute not set. This field serves as the default value, if a diagram’s expiry frequency attribute value is empty.
In our example, the approval workflow is automatically triggered again after twelve months.
Subsequently, select the workflow you want the system to trigger once a diagram approval expires.
To determine the expiry dates correctly, you need to switch to the Diagram states tab and define the states that are considered as approvals by activating the corresponding check boxes in the Reset expiration column.
If you want to use both expiring and non-expiring approvals, you can set up a specific approval workflow that triggers only states the expiry function doesn’t regard as approved. For example, you can create the states Approved (expires) and Approve (no expiry). Activate the check box Reset expiration only for Approved (expires). Workflows that trigger this state will expire, workflows triggering Approve (no expiry) won’t.
Creating and editing approval workflows¶
You can edit approval workflows and add further approval workflow processes.
In order to create or edit an approval workflow, click Setup - Manage Approval Workflows in the top drop-down menu of the Explorer and click either Open workspace in Workflow Accelerator or select a direct link to an existing approval workflow:
Open your Workflow Accelerator workspace.
In case you did not select a specific workflow, you will now be redirected to your Workflow Accelerator workspace. Go to the Processes tab to see all existing processes, including your approval workflows:
The ‘Processes’ tab provides an overview over existing processes.
Now, select an approval workflow for editing it or click New process to create a new approval workflow:
Select an existing approval workflow....
...or create a new one.
We will now assume you created a new approval workflow, so we can guide you through all the details of creating approval workflows in Workflow Accelerator. You can also edit all options explained here the same way when opening an existing workflow.
Enter now a name for the approval workflow and hit Enter:
Enter a name.
In case you have a Workflow Accelerator stand-alone license, you will have to define Signavio approval as the trigger for the process. In case you are using Workflow Accelerator as part of the Signavio Process Manager Enterprise Edition, the approval workflow trigger is set automatically. Go to the Actions tab:
Set ‘Signavio approval’ as trigger.
Go to the ‘Actions’ tab.
Now, you can create actions for the approval workflow and link them with each other. To create the first process element, click the Start event button:
Add a start event to the process canvas.
Click the Signavio drop down and select Change state to create a new Signavio Editor & Decision Manager task:
Create a new task to be executed by the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager system.
Connect start event and task, label the task and select to which state the model should be changed by the trigger:
The task will change the diagram state to ‘in progress’.
The states can be defined in the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager (see above in this chapter). When the task has been executed in Workflow Accelerator, the Signavio Editor & Decision Manager will automatically set the diagram, for which the approval workflow is executed, into this state.
Use the interactive context menu to create the first user task and name the task:
Use the interactive context menu.
Label the task.
Assign the task to one or several of your Signavio Editor & Decision Manager users by clicking the + button below the Assignment tab and selecting a user:
Assign the task to one or several users.
Alternatively, you can assign the task to one of the process participant roles. This is recommendable for most cases, as it eases approval workflow management when having several process owners and participants within the different processes.
Subsequently, go to the Form tab and click the search field below Add a field:
Add a field.
Here you can add several fields providing information about the to-be-approved diagram:
Add a field.
To edit the field’s information. like label and initial value, click the corresponding field and edit it in the pop-up on the right:
Finally, a form for a user task could look like this:
an example of a form for a user task
Now, add an exclusive gateway followed by two (or more) Signavio Editor & Decision Manager Change state tasks:
Add an exclusive gateway followed by Signavio Editor & Decision Manager tasks.
Define task labels as well as the state changes the tasks will trigger. If you want to end the workflow after these steps, add end events:
The gateway represents a user decision, meaning the user executing the previous task can decide which of the following tasks should be triggered.
When clicking the gateway you can define the labels of the dialog that will be displayed to the executing user when the corresponding decision is to be made:
Define dialog labels.
To define the outcome or the possible process flows, simply name the task following a decision:
Name the task.
The possible sequence flows have been defined.
Alternatively, gateways can be resolved automatically.
Here, you need to select Automatic decision and define the conditions for gateway resolution:
Gateways can be resolved automatically.
Hint: In our example, it does not make sense to resolve the gateway automatically. However, you can refer to the above illustration as a reference for automated gateway resolution in a similar case.
You have now created your first custom approval workflow.
Click Publish to run this process:
Publish the workflow.
The new approval workflow can now be started from the Signavio Explorer.
Deactivating the approval workflow feature¶
In order to deactivate the approval workflow feature open the Explorer and go to Setup - Manage approval workflows.
Now, the approval workflow management dialog opens. Click Deactivate:
Deactivate the approval workflow feature.
Confirm the deactivation:
Confirm the deactivation.