Use these tutorials to learn how to get started with Signavio Workflow Accelerator.

Using an ad hoc case for a document approval

This tutorial introduces the simplest way to get started with Workflow Accelerator. You can start without first defining a process by Starting an ad-hoc case.

People often use workflows for document approvals, so this tutorial uses the example of approving a report, called June report.

In the main menu, select Cases and then select Cases without a process from the bottom of the drop-down list. This shows the Cases view, which you can use to create and view ad hoc cases.


The Cases view, where you can start a new case


Ad hoc cases do not use a pre-defined process model. You can also create an approval process model.

Select Start new case to start creating a new ad hoc case. This opens the case name prompt.


Entering a case name

Enter the name June report to create the new case. The case details view shows the initial case, with an empty task list on the left.


A new ad hoc case

Now add a document: on the right, select Upload a document and select the report to review, June report.pdf. On the left, in the Add a new task text input, enter the task name Approve report to create a task.

The history panel now shows the corresponding events, labelled added a document and created Approve report.


Adding a document to the history panel and a task to the task list


You can add as many tasks to the case as you like. Use separate tasks for work that different people will do, or work that will they will complete at different times.

You can also use the text box above the comment panel to add comments to the case, to add information and collaborate with other people.

Select the Approve report task in the list to open the task details view. Under the task name, use the assignee selector to assign the task to someone, who will receive a notification. Use the date selector to choose a due date, which will result in reminders if the case’s assignee does not complete it in time.


Details of a task within a case

Select the Done button to complete the task. As the case does not contain any other open tasks, this closes the case as well. You can recognize the case’s closed status by the grey case name background, and from the most recent event in the event stream.


A closed case, after completing its last task


You can use a similar case for any other kind of approval. Use comments to add any required information, and add approval tasks the same way. Next steps:

  • use an ad hoc case for another kind of collaboration task
  • use the process builder to define a template for a repeatable process.

Your first document approval process

People often use workflows for document approval, a kind of management approval. This tutorial uses the example of a recurring process for approving some kind of report, which has two parts:

  1. defining the process that forms a template of tasks for approving reports
  2. running the process - starting a new case that groups the tasks for approving one particular report.

To get started, in the main menu, select Processes. This shows the Processes view, which you can use to create and view Processes.


The Processes view, where you can create a new process


You can also use an ad hoc case for a document approval without a pre-defined process.

Select Create new process to start creating a new process model. This opens the process name prompt.


Entering a process name, to create a new process

Enter the name Approve report, which describes the process’ goal. This creates the new process and opens the process builder’s Trigger tab, which you use to define how the process starts.

On the Trigger tab, select When a form is submitted to add a form trigger, so you can start running the process by filling in a form. The document approval process requires a report to approve, which corresponds to a trigger form field called Report that you will use to upload a file.

In the form builder palette, select File to add the field to the form. Then select the field to open its configuration panel on the right, enter the field label Report and select the Mandatory option so the form requires a file upload.


The Trigger tab, after defining a form trigger to start a case by uploading a file

After choosing how the process starts, next define the actions that you will perform when running the process.

Select the Actions to load the graphical process editor. In the actions palette, select Start to add a start event to the diagram. Then, with the start event selected use the actions palette or the mini palette that appears when you select a diagram element to add a user task and end event.


Adding a start event (1), clicking the start event mini-palette’s rectangle icon to add a user task (2), and clicking the user task mini-palette’s circle icon to add an end event (3)

Next select the start event, user task and end event in turn, and use the configuration panel to set their names to draft for review, Approve report and report approved, respectively.


The Actions tab, after adding a single Approve report action to a process

This simple process model only contains a single task, to approve the report. Models don’t have to contain start and end events, but their names help clarify the start and end statuses. Later, you can improve the workflow in various ways, but first you should run the process that you have defined so far, so you can see how it works.

Select Publish to run this process. This creates a published version of the process, and shows the Versions tab, with this initial version.


The Versions tab, after publishing the first version of a process

Now that you have published the process, you can use it as a template to create the first ‘case’ for approving a document.

Select Start new case to start a new case. This shows the trigger form you set-up earlier, which consists of a file upload field and a submit button. Select the file field, and choose a June report.pdf file to attach to the case.


Running the process - using the trigger form to start a new case

Select Start new case to finish starting the new case. This creates the case, and shows the case details view where you already see the process’s Approve report task in the task list on the left. The first entry in the event stream, on the bottom-right, shows the the trigger form data, including the uploaded file, which you can select to open.


The case details view, after starting a new case

Now you have created an run your process for the first time, you can repeat the same steps to develop your process further: select Processes, select the process from the list, make changes to the process model in the process editor, publish a new version and then start a new case to try out the updated process.


After creating and running a simple approval process, you can enhance it in several ways. Next steps include the following.

  • Adding an explicit approval decision using an exclusive gateway
  • Adding a result notification using the send email action
  • Using organization groups to define task candidates
  • Using process roles to automatically assign tasks
  • Using access control to restrict process actions

Adding a decision to an approval process

An approval process such as a document approval requires a clear decision, such as whether to Approve or Reject a document. This tutorial continues the document approval process example from the previous tutorial and shows you how to add a manual decision to a user task form.

To start, create a basic approval process with a single user task, as in the first document process tutorial:


A basic approval process with a single task

This basic process already includes the task for making an approval decision, but it doesn’t give any guidance for making the decision. You can improve this process so that the approval task’s form has Approve and Reject buttons, like this:


The result of adding a decision - a task form with Approve and Reject buttons

In the process model, an Exclusive gateway after the user task will represent the decision. To add the gateway to the model, select the Exclusive gateway button in the tool palette. This adds the diamond shape with an X to the diagram.


Adding an exclusive gateway to the process model

Next, drag the end event to the right, to make room for the gateway, and drag the gateway symbol onto the transition from the user task to the end event as shown:


Moving the gateway to an existing transition

For the next step, add a new path to the process that represents the decision to reject the document. This means adding a second transition from the exclusive gateway to a new end event. To do this, select the exclusive gateway, and drag the end event (circle) icon to where you want to new end event, as shown:


Adding a transition from the gateway to a new end event

Name the new end event to describe the alternate end status, to make the diagram easier to understand. Select the event and enter the name report rejected.


Naming the alternate end event with a different end status

Now you can configure the gateway with the decision. To use an exclusive gateway for a manual decision, it must have an incoming transition from a user task and more than one outgoing transition. Select the exclusive gateway to open its configuration pane, and enter the decision options Approve and Reject, using the end event names to get them the right way around.


Configuring Approve and Reject decisions on an exclusive gateway

You can see the result of configuring the manual decision on the user task form. Select the user task, which opens its configuration pane’s Form tab. At the bottom, underneath where any fields would appear, you now see the decision options as Approve and Reject buttons. In the form description field, enter instructions for making the decision: Approve or reject the attached draft report.


Adding a description to a task form that now shows Approve and Reject buttons

Now you can see the result of adding the decision to the process. Select the Publish changes button (top-right) to publish a new version of the process, then select Start case next to the latest version in the list. Start the case, completing the trigger form if you added one, and open the Approve report task. The task page shows the task form with the description you entered, and the decision buttons.


Running the process - the form for a manual decision with Approve and Reject buttons

Select Approve to record the decision and complete the user task. The case view history panel (right) now shows the Approve decision.


After completing the form, the history panel shows the Approve decision

Decisions like these don’t only occur in document approval processes. In practice, many kinds of business processes use one or manual decisions that you can add in the same way.

More tutorials

If you need more examples on what Workflow Accelerator can do, Signavio’s 10 Workflow Examples page is a good place to start.

In addition, Signavio’s Applied BPM Blog includes Workflow Accelerator tutorials. The following tutorials introduce features based on concrete examples.