Managing approval workflows

Hint

You need administrator rights in your Signavio Process Manager workspace to enable, disable, and manage workflow sharing. The Software as a Service Edition (SaaS) also requires you to be the workspace administrator.

Signavio Process Manager enables you to 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 ensure the quality of all diagrams published in the Collaboration Hub.

You can define approval workflows in Signavio Workflow Accelerator. To define approval workflows, you need to purchase licenses for Signavio Workflow Accelerator in addition to your Signavio Process Manager licenses.

To use the approval workflow feature, click Setup, then Manage approval workflows in the top drop-down menu of the Explorer.

Manage approval workflows.

Activating the approval workflow feature

If you opened the settings as explained above and if approval workflows are inactive a dialog opens for you to activate the feature. Activate the check box below the short introduction text and click Activate:

Activate the approval workflow feature

Activate the approval workflow feature.

Click Next to confirm and start configuring the approval workflow preferences:

The activation was successful

The activation was successful.

Now, you can manage your approval workflows.

Configuring Approval Workflows

Hint

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, 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 approval workflow configuration dialog

The dialog enables you to:

  • Open your workspace in Signavio Workflow Accelerator
Clicking the link will open your Signavio 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 Signavio 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 deactivate it.

  • Synchronize users with Signavio Workflow Accelerator

    After you created new users in Signavio Process Manager, you need to synchronize Signavio Process Manager with Signavio Workflow Accelerator, so your new users can be included in your approval workflows. Click Synchronize users now to create a Signavio Workflow Accelerator account for all your Signavio Process Manager users who did not have a Signavio Workflow Accelerator account before.

    An alert will ask you to confirm the synchronization:

    Confirm the synchronization.

    Confirm the synchronization.

    Important

    If your organization is using Signavio Workflow Accelerator for approval workflows in Signavio Process Manager, synchronizing the workspace will delete Signavio Workflow Accelerator users who have been previously deleted in Signavio Process Manager.

  • Synchronize configuration with Signavio Workflow Accelerator

You only need to click this button if there are problems with the configuration between your Signavio Process Manager and Signavio Workflow Accelerator workspaces–if the tenant ID is missing in Signavio Workflow Accelerator, for example. Most of the time, the configuration updates itself automatically when changes are made. However, if you do need to manually fix the configuration, click Synchronize configuration now to trigger a synchronization of all diagram states, Process Manager URLs and the Process Manager tenant ID.

An alert will ask you to confirm the synchronization:

Confirm the synchronization.

Confirm the synchronization.

Access control for approval workflows

If the option Use workflow access permissions is enabled, permissions for processes set in Signavio Workflow Accelerator are used for approval workflows.

../../_images/Activate_access_setting.png

‘Use workflow access permissions’ checkbox

“Start process” permission and “See process” permission

When an approval workflow is created or edited in Workflow Accelerator, it is possible to restrict who can see or start a process.

For details on how to set these permissions in Workflow Accelerator, see Access control.

  • If a user is permitted to see but not start an approval workflow, that workflow is visible as disabled in the drop-down list. In case this user still tries to start the approval workflow, an error message is shown.
  • If a user is not permitted to see a workflow, the workflow won’t be listed.

Important

If you enable the option Use workflow access permissions, every user who wants to start an approval workflow needs a Workflow Accelerator account. If a user tries to start an approval workflow while not having an account for Workflow Accelerator, an error message is shown.

Diagram states

You can also edit the diagram states within an approval workflow.

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. If the check box Publish is activated, a diagram will be automatically published in 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 workflow.

Edit the states a diagram can have within an approval workflows

Hint

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.

Add a new state.

To delete a state, click the trash button next to the corresponding column and confirm the action:

Delete a state...

Delete a state...

...and confirm the action.

...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 Signavio Process Manager. Signavio 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.

Participants

Configure the Participants attributes in the Participants tab.

Here, you can assign diagram attributes to Signavio Workflow Accelerator roles. This requires the creation of corresponding attributes on BPMN diagram level in Signavio Process Manager. Read more about custom attributes in the chapter Configuring notations and attributes.

Assign the attributes and save the configuration.

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.

Define process participants.

Important

With this feature, you can only use the email addresses the corresponding users used to register themselves in Signavio Workflow Accelerator.

When configuring approval workflows in Signavio Workflow Accelerator (see Creating and editing approval workflows), you can assign responsibilities to the different participants.

Approval Expiration

In this tab you can set expiry dates for diagram approvals. Expiry dates ensure your diagrams are regularly re-checked, for example to fulfill compliance rules.

Open the 'Approval Expiration' tab.

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 fixed expiry frequency for all diagrams.

    Define a static fixed frequency for all diagrams

    Next, define the expiry frequency in the field Number of months. In our example, the system triggers a new approval workflow after twelve months.

  • To define the expiry frequency per diagram, set Select how the timespan is determined to Custom attribute (type: number). Next select the attribute you want to use to configure the frequency. To configure custom attributes, see Configuring notations and attributes.

../../_images/aw_expire_attribute.png

Expiry frequency using an attribute on diagram level

Next, 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.

To select the workflow you want the system to trigger once a diagram approval expires, you need to switch to the Diagram states tab. Here you can define the states that are considered as approvals in the Reset expiration column.

../../_images/reset_expiration.png

Select the states

Hint

To use both expiring and non-expiring approvals, set up a specific approval workflow that triggers only states that the expiry function doesn’t regard as approved. For example, create the states Approved (expires) and Approved (no expiry). Activate the check box Reset expiration only for Approved (expires). Workflows triggering this state will expire, workflows triggering Approved (no expiry) won’t.

Reapprovals

To schedule reapprovals, set an expiry period in the Approval Expiration tab and mark at least one of the diagram states in the Diagram states tab as Reset expiration.

Existing approvals

Existing approvals are affected by changing the Approval Expiration or the Diagram state configuration.

Approval Expiration

If you change the expiration timespan, the new expiration period is used to schedule the reapproval.

Example: If a diagram was approved two months ago and you set the reapproval period to one month, the reapproval workflow is triggered immediately.

Diagram state

If you change the diagram state that resets the expiration, reapprovals only depend on the new states. De-selected states are no longer considered for already initiated expiry periods. For the newly selected states, the expiry period is calculated from the time this state was reached.

Example: You have two diagram states, approved and rejected. So far, approved was activating the approval expiration, now you want to change the diagram state to rejected. As soon as the diagram state is changed, the reapprovals linked to approved are discarded by the system. The system also searches for revisions with the state rejected and recalculates the expiry period, starting from the date the diagram was set to rejected. This means that changing the diagram state does not immediately trigger the reapproval workflow, and that it may take less than the complete timespan for the reapproval workflow to be triggered.

Creating and editing approval workflows

You can edit approval workflows and add further approval workflow processes.

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 Signavio Workflow Accelerator or click a link to an existing approval workflow:

Open your Signavio Workflow Accelerator workspace.

Open your Signavio Workflow Accelerator workspace

In case you did not select a specific workflow, you are redirected to your Signavio 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.

The ‘Processes’ tab provides an overview over existing processes

Now, select an approval workflow for editing it:

Select an existing approval workflow...

or click New process to create a new 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 Signavio Workflow Accelerator. You can also edit all options explained here the same way when opening an existing workflow.

Enter a name for the approval workflow and hit Enter:

Enter a name.

Setting the workflow trigger

If you have a Signavio Workflow Accelerator stand-alone license, you need to define Signavio approval as the trigger for the process.

Set 'Signavio approval' as trigger.

Set ‘Signavio approval’ as trigger

In case you are using Signavio Workflow Accelerator as part of Signavio Process Manager Enterprise Edition, the approval workflow trigger is set automatically.

Creating actions

Next, go to the Actions tab:

Go to the 'Actions' tab.

Go to the ‘Actions’ tab

Here 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.

Add a start event to the process canvas

Changing states

Click the Signavio drop down and select Change state to create a new Signavio Process Manager task:

Create a new task to be executed by Signavio Process Manager.

Create a new task to be executed by Signavio Process 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 task will change the diagram state to ‘in progress’.

The states can be defined in Signavio Process Manager (see Diagram states). When the task has been executed in Signavio Workflow Accelerator, Process Manager will automatically set the diagram, for which the approval workflow is executed, into this state.

Creating and assigning user tasks

Use the interactive context menu to create the first user task and name the task:

Use the interactive context menu.

Use the interactive context menu.

Label the task.

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.

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.

../../_images/awassigntorole_en.png

Adding fields for additional information

In the Form tab you can add several fields providing information about the to-be-approved diagram:

Add a field.

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:

../../_images/effektifaddfield_en.png

Finally, a form for a user task could look like this:

an example of a form for a user task

Example of a form for a user task

Adding exclusive gateways

Now, add an exclusive gateway followed by two (or more) Signavio Process Manager Change state tasks:

Add an exclusive gateway followed by Signavio Editor & Decision Manager tasks.

Add an exclusive gateway followed by Signavio Process Manager tasks.

Defining task labels

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:

Add labels, triggers and 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.

Define dialog labels.

To define the outcome or the possible process flows, simply name the task following a decision:

Name the task.

Name the task.

The possible sequence flows have been defined.

The possible sequence flows have been defined.

Setting automatic decisions

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.

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.

Publishing the process

You have now created your first custom approval workflow.

Click Publish to run this process:

Publish the workflow.

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.

Deactivate the approval workflow feature.

Confirm the deactivation:

Confirm the deactivation.

Confirm the deactivation.