Cases

You can use a case as a small collaboration space for a particular goal (like “Hire employee”, or “Sign contract”, for example). Cases typically represent more work than a simple task for a single person, but less than a whole project. A case breaks the goal down into concrete action items (or tasks) so you can collaborate with other people. The case brings together a set of tasks, a discussion and documents, and allows participants to share any relevant context information for the tasks.

Starting an ad-hoc case

Signavio Workflow Accelerator supports two types of cases: cases that relate to a process and ad-hoc cases. An ad-hoc case does not have a predefined process. It creates a collaboration space that you can use to reach a one-off goal.

To create a new ad-hoc case, navigate to Cases; on the Cases of menu, select Cases without a process, then click Start new case.

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Start a new case

Then the case header appears.

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Enter case name

Next, type the case title and hit Enter. Workflow Accelerator now creates the new case.

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New case

Starting a new process case

A process case uses the latest version of the workflow defined by a published process. It creates a collaboration space for working towards a predefined goal.

You can create a new process case by selecting the Start new case button in one of three places:

  1. In the process builder, on the Versions page, next to the latest published version
  2. On the Processes page, next to the name of each published process
  3. On the cases overview page, for the selected process.

If the process does not define a trigger, then you enter a case name as when Starting an ad-hoc case. Other trigger types generate their own case names, or use a case name template.

Browsing cases

The Cases view shows an overview of cases for a single process. To open the Cases view, select Cases from the main menu.

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The Cases view - cases of the “Hire employee” process

The table shows cases for the Hire employee process. You can use the menu above the table to select a different process, ad hoc cases that don’t have a process, or cases of a deleted process. Each case in the table show the case name, grey and purple task status bars, and additional columns that show the values of workflow variables.

The grey and green status bars show information about completed and open tasks when you hover the mouse cursor over them.

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Hover over the grey bar to see a case’s completed tasks.

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Hover over the open bar to see a case’s open tasks.

These status bars appear in the upper right of the workflow data columns, which you can customize.

Use the linked case name to open the case’s details page.

Configuring case view table columns

The Cases view’s table includes columns for workflow variables, which usually correspond to form fields on a trigger form or in a user task. You can select which fields the Cases view shows as table columns, so you can have a clear overview of the process’ cases.

To customize the table columns, open the Cases view and click the top-right Configure columns button.

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Configuring table columns

Use the drag icon on the far left of the list of columns to change the column order, and click the delete icon on the far right to remove a column. You can also use the text box to edit the column’s heading.

Below the list of columns, you’ll find a menu for selecting additional column to add to the table.

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Adding a column to the table

The menu lists all of the workflow variables that the table does not currently include. In this example, the Interviewer variable has the type User, which means that you can access additional fields for the user’s email address, first name, ID and last name.

Viewing case details

The Case details view displays all tasks in a table, along with important information like creation date, closing date, and due date. It also shows the current milestones of a case. You can change the priority and due dates for a case in this view. The name of the process the case belongs to is displayed above the case name.

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Case details view, showing three closed tasks, one open task and the info panel

Each case has an info panel, which itself is divided into three panels: core information, comments, and history. Whenever you open one of these panels, your selection is stored in your user preferences. The next time you open the case details view, the panel you selected in your previous session will open by default.

Hover over a history panel entry to open a pop-up that shows its exact date and time.

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Hovering over an event stream entry to show its timestamp

Viewing core information

The core information feature allows you to see all important information about a case with a single glance.

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The case details view’s core information tab

You can find the core information in three locations: in the right side panel of the new case view; in the details tab of the workflow editor; and in the ‘Set core information’ action in the new process view. Core information can be edited or filled in with existing information from the workflow.

Viewing case history

The case history panel shows a timeline of events in a selected case. You can limit the information shown in the case history panel to just uploaded documents or submitted forms. To see the timestamp of an event, hover your cursor over it in the timeline.

When looking at a task, the case history panel will by default show only events related to the selected task. You can reset this by simply clicking the this case tab.

Note that by default, events in the history panel that include forms are collapsed by default. To view the form data, just click on the event.

Other open activities

The case view contains the Task list. This list shows all open and closed tasks in a case. Subprocesses are listed under the Subprocess heading.

In most cases, completing the last task will close the case. However, sometimes a case must wait for a sub-process, or some other activity that doesn’t correspond to a task in the Tasks list, to complete before closing. In these situations, you can close the open activity manually. These activities are usually timers, such as an Intermediate timer event. They can be found under the Other open activities heading, along with any execution errors that occurred during the process. To skip a timer, click the Skip button located next to the name of the timer.

Commenting on a case

Working on a case often includes collaboration with other people. You can use the case view to discuss the case with other people, which results in a discussion in the comment panel.

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Comments on a case

By using case comments instead of email, participants ensure that discussions retain the full context for everyone involved.

Note

Once created, comments cannot be edited or deleted.

In the comment panel, reply to existing comments to keep the discussion structured. Hover over a user’s avatar to see their full name. To see the time stamp of a comment, hover over the relative time. To add a comment, type in the text box above the comment panel.

Everyone who has access to the case can follow the discussion. Keeping the discussion ‘inside’ the case preserves the context, which makes it easier to follow than an email conversation.

You can add comments to specific tasks or cases. Comments that are assigned to a specific task can only been seen by people with access to that task. When a task is opened, the comment list is limited to task-specific comments by default. You can choose whether to comment on a specific task or on the entire case by selecting the corresponding tab beneath the comment box.

Sometimes, you want to direct a comment to a specific person. While entering a comment, you can ‘mention’ someone by typing a @ and choosing their name from the list. When you mention someone in a comment, Workflow Accelerator sends them an email notification to bring them into the discussion.

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Mentioning someone in a comment

You can also mention two specific groups, corresponding to people working on the case. Enter @all to mention all participants in the case. Enter @open to mention the assignees of open tasks within the case.

You can also use Markdown formatting in comments, for things like text styles, headings and lists.

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Using Markdown formatting in a case comment

You may find Markdown most useful for adding links to external information that relates to the case.

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A hyperlink in a case comment

Attaching documents to a case

As well as commenting on a case, you can attach documents to share with the case’s participants. For example, cases in a job vacancy process might require candidate CVs. Anyone with access to the case can download a case’s documents, which makes them more useful than email attachments.

To attach a document to a case, select the the Upload a document option next to where you add comments.

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A document attached to a case

The uploaded document will be visible in the comment panel as well as the history panel.

If cases regularly require the same document as part of the process, you can make this clearer to people who work on cases by adding a file upload form field to a user task form.

Closing a case manually

You normally close a case by completing all of its tasks. However, sometimes you want to abandon a case and stop working on it. To do this you can manually close a case.

To close a case, simply click “Select cases” in the menu under the case name:

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Click the check box next to the case you want to close. (You can select multiple cases at once.) Then click “Close all selected cases”.

Deleting cases

You do not normally delete cases in Workflow Accelerator: you close cases that you have finished working on. However, you sometimes do need to delete cases, such as the test cases that you create while developing the initial versions of a process model.

To delete a case, click “Select cases” in the menu under the case name.

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Use the checkboxes in the cases table’s first column to select which case(s) you’d like to delete. Then click “Delete all selected cases”.

You can also delete cases via the Delete case button in the case view.

Exporting cases data

You can export the information about a process’ cases to a CSV file that you can open in a spreadsheet. To export case data, open the Cases overview, select a process, and then select Export as CSV. You may find this useful for reporting or auditing, for example.

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CSV export options

Use the CSV export options to specify the ordering of exported cases, whether to filter by status (open or closed), and the output format. Try a different output format option if you have problems loading the exported CSV file into another application, such as Microsoft Excel. The output format options determine which characters the CSV output uses to quote and separate characters and lines:

  • Standard - conventional CSV format
  • Excel - Microsoft Excel compatibility mode
  • Excel (Northern Europe) - better Excel compatibility for some European countries
  • Tabs - separate values with tabs instead of commas.

The CSV export uses UTF-8 text encoding. Select UTF-8 when opening the CSV in Microsoft Excel, for example, to preserve characters such as letters with accents.

Skipping intermediate timer events

When a process includes an Intermediate timer event, case execution waits for the timer to complete before continuing. Sometimes, you want to continue immediately without waiting for the timer.

You can manually skip a timer, without waiting for its configured delay. The case details view shows open timers under the Other open activities heading.

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A pending intermediate timer event in the other activities list

To skip the intermediate timer event, use the Skip timer button to the right of the timer name.

Skipping failed tasks

During case execution, an automatic task might fail to execute because it has an invalid configuration. A Google Drive - Upload file task will fail if you don’t configure a Google account, for example. You can manually skip some kinds of failed task, so that case execution continues.

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An option to skip a task that failed to execute

To skip a failed task, use the Skip task button to the right of the task name in the case’s task list.

On the Skip action dialogue that opens, enter a reason to explain the decision for skipping the task. The history panel will show the reason with the task completion event, so other people will know why you skipped the task.

Retrying failed tasks

An automatic task might also fail for an external reason that you can resolve. A Google Drive - Upload file task will fail if the configured Google account doesn’t have permission to write to the selected Google Drive folder, for example. You can manually retry some failed tasks, after resolving the external issue, so that task completes successfully and case execution continues.

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An option to retry a task that could succeed on the next try

To retry a failed task, use the Retry task button to the right of the task name in the case’s task list.

Reusing start information

Note

This feature cannot be used with public forms.

When you’re filling out a form (such as when requesting time off from work), sometimes you may want to start several cases re-using the same data, to avoid having to manually fill the form with the same information each time. There are two ways to do so:

  • Fill out and start a case with a form. If the form you filled out has a confirmation message, you will see the Reuse start info button. Click it to be brought to the start form page with the same pre-filled form fields.
  • In the case view, click the Reuse start info button in the case details view. You will be brought to the start form page, where your form fields will be pre-filled with your previous data.