Set up workflow phases and transitions

This topic describes how to set up your development workflow by defining phases and how to transition from phase to phase.


ALM Octane uses phases to represent the status of an item.

For every item, you can create a workflow indicating the phases through which the item advances as the item is being developed.

Workflow is supported for any item which proceeds through development, such as requirements, defects, tests, and so on.

Shared space admin or workspace admin permissions are required.

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Sharing phases and workflows between spaces

Workflows and their phases can be defined for entities in shared spaces and individual workspaces .

This section explains how shared workflows can be customized for individual workspaces.

Workflows in individual workspaces

When defined for a specific workspace, a workflow and its phases are available for the item only in that individual workspace.

Only the workspace admin can create, modify, and delete this workflow.

Shared workflows

When defined in a shared space, a workflow and its phases are available for the item in all associated workspaces.

In the associated workspaces, the phases are displayed with the icon, indicating that the phase is defined in a shared workflow.

What can the shared space admin do? What can the workspace admin do?

The shared space admin can create, modify, and delete shared workflows, phases, and transitions.

Any changes made to the shared workflow are visible to any workspace associated with the workflow's shared space.

Workspace admins can rename phases and add phases in a shared workflow associated with their workspaces.

The workflow is still shared, but the changes made at the workspace level are available only to the one workspace where the changes are made. Only the workspace admin can see the changes made to the shared workflow.

For examples, see Shared workflows.

Shared workflows and cross-workspace graphs

Shared spaces enable you to create widgets that report on information across workspaces. The resulting information is called a cross-workspace graph. Any item that meets the widget's filter criteria is included in the graph, regardless of workspace.

Even if a shared workflow has been customized for a workspace, any items whose phases were defined in the customized parts of the shared workflow are included in the graph.

Limitation:   If the cross-workspace widget configuration includes phases as the x-axis value, ALM Octane ignores items whose phases were customized in a workspace. They are not included in the graph.

For details on cross-workspace widgets using the dashboard, see Workspace .

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The workflow diagram

The workflow diagram contains the following items.


The phase represents a status of an item.


Different items have different sets of phases. For example, backlog item phases include New, Deferred, Opened, Fixed, Proposed closed, Duplicate, Closed, and Rejected.

Indicated by a rectangle: 

If working in a workspace, an icon indicates that the phase is part of a shared workflow and defined in the shared space.

You can customize the phases for each item. For details, see Set up lists.

Start phase

When you create a workflow, the first phase in the workflow is the Start phase.

Indicated by a green rectangle: 

Every workflow has only one Start phase.


Inside each workflow are Metaphases.

Indicated by a label over the relevant phases in the diagram:

A metaphase lets you categorize the phases logically.

Metaphases are provided by default and cannot be modified.

Within the metaphases, you can change the order and flow of the phases or add additional phases.

Metaphases are also used in the dashboard to simplify and categorize charts and graphs.

The metaphases for backlog items and their default phases are: 

  • Phases for the New metaphase include: New, Deferred

  • Phases for the In progress metaphase include: Opened

  • Phases for the Done metaphase include: Duplicate, Closed, Rejected

Master phase

If you select a phase in a shared workflow from within a workspace, the master phase field displays the original phase in the shared workflow on which changes were based. You can see the master phase field in the PROPERTIES pane on the right.

  • If you rename a shared workflow phase in a workspace, the master phase displays the original name of the phase in the shared space.

  • When adding phases in a workspace to a shared workflow, you add the phases relative to an original phase. The original phase is the master phase for any of these newly-added phases.

For examples, see Shared workflows.


Workflow phases are connected by transition arrows.

Primary transition

A primary transition is the main workflow for the item. Most items will pass through the phases of the primary path as the items are being developed.

Indicated by a solid arrow:

Each workflow has one primary transition.

Secondary, or alternate, transition

Transitions that are alternate workflow paths. These transitions are not essential to the primary logic of the workflow. Under certain circumstances, an item will follow the alternate path.

Indicated by a dotted arrow: 

Example: Most New defects follow the primary path to the Opened phase. However, a New defect may be Deferred if there are not enough resources to handle it.

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Sample workflows

Here are some sample workflows that demonstrate the use of phases and transitions.

User stories

Gherkin tests


Shared workflows

Here we demonstrate how to work with shared workflows. The examples below are based on the following scenario: 

Our site has a shared space for a clothing division. This shared space has four workspaces associated with it: 

Set up workflows

  1. In Settings , click Spaces and select a shared space or workspace.

  2. Click Entities and select the item for which you want to set up the workflow.

  3. Click Workflow. The existing workflow phases display graphically.

  4. Modify the workflow as needed. Select a phase, and then: 

    Rename a phase

    Enter a name in the PROPERTIES pane.

    Assign a phase to a different metaphase

    Enter a different metaphase in the PROPERTIES pane. In the display, the phase moves to the newly-assigned metaphase.

    Describe a phase

    View the read-only description in the PROPERTIES pane.

    Add a phase

    Right-click the phase before which you want to add a new phase. Select Add Phase.

    Tip: If you add phases with similar meanings to defect and user story workflows, use the same name for the phase in both workflows. This is because, in the Backlog module, the Backlog Items tab displays defects and user stories together. The phase filter for this tab includes all workflow phases for defects and user stories. Phases with the same name are listed only once in the filter.

    Indicate the phase is a start phase

    Click the Start Phase check box in the PROPERTIES pane.

    Indicate the transition is a primary transition

    Click the Primary Transition check box in the PROPERTIES pane.

    Add a transition

    Right-click the phase before which you want to add a new phase. Select Add Transition. Enter the name of the target phase to which the transition should point.

    Delete a phase or a transition

    Right-click the phase or transition, and select the delete option.

    • You cannot delete a phase if it has outgoing transitions, so delete those transitions first.

    • You cannot delete a transition if it is the only incoming transition to a phase.

    • If you delete a transition that is the primary transition, it is best to clear the Primary Transition check box before deleting it and to select a different transition as the primary one.

    Only shared space admins can delete phases defined on the shared space level.

    Workspace admins cannot delete or modify transitions created from the workspace on a shared space workflow.

    As you modify the workflow, it is refreshed automatically.

  5. Click Save for the workflow.

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Create workflow rules

You can create rules to customize workflow from the workflow diagram and also from the Rules settings area.

In this section:

Define workflow rules in the workflow diagram

You can define workflow rules for the currently-selected phase or the currently-selected transition.

  1. In the RULES pane on the right, click + to add a rule.

    The RULES pane on the right displays rules for the currently-selected phase or transition only.

  2. Define the rule.

    For details, see Set up rules.

  3. Click Save in the RULES pane.

Define workflow rules in Rules settings area

If you click the Rules tab at the top (not from the Rule panel), you see the rules defined for the currently-selected item, including the rules you just created from workflow.

You can add more workflow rules and modify existing workflow rules.

The Phase column in the grid shows the phases for which you created the rule. These rules do not run for any other phase.

For details, see Set up rules.

Sharing workflow rules between spaces

This section explains how workflow rules can be shared across workspaces and be customized for individual workspaces.

  • Workflow rules defined in a workspace are only available to that workspace.

  • Workflow rules defined for shared workflows are available to associated workspaces.

  • Workflow rules defined for a shared workflow can be customized for individual workspaces.

Here we demonstrate how ALM Octane handles shared workflow rules and their customization.

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Next steps: