One benefit to any PLM system is automatically notifying folks when they have work to do. Today I want to go over a few key settings an administrator can configure when creating workflows. While this is complex, once you get the hang of it, your eyes will uncross – promise! On each workflow transition, you can set different ways to notify users, either via e-mail or as a to-do in the Outstanding Work on your dashboard.
Let’s walk through what each one means. We’ll start in the middle since that’s easiest to grasp IMHO. When checked, you’ll see a link to the record in your Outstanding Work when you have the ability to perform the transition (in this case, when the record is in state ‘Awaiting Team Review’).
The first one in the highlighted section, ‘Notify by e-mail on occurrence’, is used along with the third setting ‘Notify users who have permission to perform’. It’s a forward looking notification for those users who are cable of performing the following transitions. I put some notes into the workflow to try to show this a bit better – we’ll focus on just part of the workflow map.
The notes point out the relevant settings. Let’s look at how we configured the 2 transitions coming from the state we’re in – the important bit for our example is the fact we set the ‘Notify users who have permissions’ to true so that when that transition becomes available we look back to see if ‘Notify by e-mail on occurrence’ was set true in the preceding transition:
Here’s the e-mail a user (in this case, Tabby from last week’s post) gets when the transition ‘Start Phase 1’ occurs and they have permissions for both transitions coming from state “ Phase 1 Review”:
To help wrap my head around this, I like to first flesh out the workflow – don’t worry too much about the settings. Then walk through state by state and think about when you want the notifications to occur. If I was sitting at the state “Phase 1 Review” and knew I’d want folks notified when the item reaches that state, I’d go and make sure the transition leading into that state has the ‘Notify by e-mail on occurrence’ set and at least one of the transitions coming out of the state has the ‘Notify users who have permission to perform’ set (keep in mind you may not want notifications going out to all users, here’s where having different workflow permissions is useful). Perhaps I’ll go into more detail on that sort of configuration in another blog as well as limiting who gets e-mail via scripting (have to leave you guys wanting to come back for more!).
Still clear as mud on how this whole notification thing works? Let’s do one more quick example. Here we’ll explore what happens if we don’t have the ‘Notify by e-mail’ set. I tweaked the settings in the ‘Clarification Needed’ and ‘Start Phase 1’ to include that, but notice our ‘Initiate’ transition doesn’t have it set.
So when a record is initially created, ‘Initiate’ automatically happens, but no email goes out since ‘Notify by e-mail’ is not set. This is useful in workflows where the user creating the item will most likely be the one kicking off the workflow. Now let’s say the workflow moves along, and once we’ve gotten to “ Phase 1 Review”, the step ‘Clarification Needed’ is performed sending the state back to “ Awaiting Team Review”. Now the transition ‘Start Phase 1’ is available again and this time the notification *is* sent since ‘Clarification Need’ is configured to send the notification e-mail and ‘Start Phase 1’ has ‘notify users who have permission’ set.
Photo needs no crediting this week as it’s of my kitty friend Augustus Steve McQueen of Austin, TX (but I get to call him Augie) ^MS