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.

Shared space admin or workspace admin permissions are required.


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.

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Sharing phases between spaces

Phases can be defined for entities in shared spaces and individual workspaces .

  • When defined for shared spaces, the phase is available to the entity in all associated workspaces and has the icon . The shared space admin can create and modify these phases.

  • When defined for a specific workspace, the phase is available to the entity in that individual workspace only. The workspace admin can create and modify these phases.

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The workflow diagram

The workflow diagram is comprised of 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: 

An icon indicates that the phase is defined on the shared space level.

You can customize the phases for each entity. 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.

For example, 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


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 predefined sample workflows that demonstrate the use of phases and transitions.

User stories

Gherkin tests


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Set up workflows

Watch a slideshow that shows you how to work with workflow!

  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 panel on the right.

    Assign a phase to a different metaphase

    Enter a different metaphase in the Properties panel on the right. In the display, the phase moves to the newly-assigned metaphase.

    Describe a phase

    View the read-only description in the Properties panel on the right.

    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 panel on the right.

    Indicate the transition is a primary transition

    Click the Primary Transition check box in the Properties panel on the right.

    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.

    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.

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 panel on the right, click + to add a rule.

    The Rules panel 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 panel.

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 entity, 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.

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