Overview of Workflows

A workflow represents a business process and is used to map business rules and processes to your organization. This section covers information about Demand Management workflows.

The basic components of a workflow are as follows:

  • Begin. For each workflow, you must explicitly define the first eligible workflow step.

  • Workflow step. Workflow steps are events that are linked together to form a complete workflow. The basic types of workflow step are:

    • Decision. Decision steps represent manual activities performed outside of PPM. For example, a user or group of users approves a request.

    • Execution. Execution steps represent actions that are automated through PPM. For example, a Web page is updated with the results of a test.

    • Condition. Condition steps are logic steps used in complex workflow processing. For example, you can set up a condition step that allows the workflow to proceed only after each workflow step is completed.

    • Subworkflows. A subworkflow step represents multiple workflows steps (the subworkflow) in a workflow. For example, a test workflow step in the main workflow represents a series of tests and approvals.

  • Transition. The results of workflow step that must be communicated to another workflow step. A transition occurs after a workflow step is completed.

    Examples

    • The result of a decision step is Approved or Not Approved.

    • The transition for a step labeled Analysis and Design (for a software application) could be Completed or Needs More Work.

    Because a single step can have several possible results, you can define multiple outgoing transitions for each workflow step.

  • Workflow step security. Workflow step security determines who has permission to execute or choose a result for a workflow step. For example, you can specify that only the IT project manager can approve or deny an Approve Request decision step.

  • Notification. Notifications are email alerts sent out at specific workflow steps. For example, when a request reaches an Approve Request decision step in the workflow, an email alert is sent to the product manager.

  • Close step. A close step ends the workflow. It is an execution step that marks the request as completed.

Figure 3-1. Workflow components shows examples of common workflow components.

Figure 3-1. Workflow components

Mapping all of the individual workflow steps into a single workflow is a two-stage process.

Stage 1. Create a block diagram (see Figure 3-2. Stage 1. Create a block diagram). Map each workflow step worksheet as one block in the diagram. Include transitions, workflow step security, and notifications. Use the worksheets provided in Worksheets to help you construct the diagram.

Figure 3-2. Stage 1. Create a block diagram

Stage 2. Map the block diagram to the workflow. Open the Workflow Workbench and create a workflow. Map each component from the block diagram to the new workflow (see Figure 3-3. Stage 2. Create the workflow).

Figure 3-3. Stage 2. Create the workflow