Our company's work in Workfront is document(file)-centric with lots of review steps.
Does anyone ever use the document's approval line? This provides your approver with the option to "Approve / Reject / Changes" but the approval line doesn't:
- have a deadline
-add time to the project
- show up in a task list
so everyone (PMs and workers) are reluctant to use it.
Does anyone use both a task and a document approval to track document review, or can speak to what workflow they use for these?
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We do not use Approvals a lot, but I'd like to use it more often so I will be interested in seeing some responses as well. The one thing I'll note is that you can set it up to add time to a project. In setup, go to Processes, then Approvals, and then click on the "Settings" link in the upper right corner. There you can enter time to add to the task completion date.
Thanks Greg. I want to clarify that in my original post, I was referring to Document approvals. These are different from Project, Task, and Issue approvals. Yes, you can add time to a project if you add an approval to a project/task/issue. However, I can see no way to add time or add a deadline to a document approval.
On the subject of Approval processes for a task or issue, I can comment that our users either like or hate this.
My top hates:
- there's no way to NOT add time to a project. Your minimum time will always be a day, even if you don't want to add time to a project.
- there's no way to stop the next task from activating. Our workflow is made of a series of linked tasks where every task is depending on the preceding task to complete before that new task can start. If an approval is pending, we want the new task not to start. I see no way to do this. (We run task reports based on "Can Start = TRUE" and I don't see a way to specify that "preceding task should not be pending approval" -- I'll be asking about this next month in FL.)
If it is important to have the approvals in the task list, you might want to do a task approval and then have tasks for the different key documents that need to be routed. What is nice about this approach is that when the uploader picks the status complete (saying they did their part and it is ready for approval), the status appears as Complete - Pending Approval so you can clearly see which tasks are really complete and which are in the approval process.
There is also a field called Approval Statuses (in the Approval Process section) where you can see who needs to approval and if they have yet or if you are waiting on someone. And as stated, you can set it up where it adds so many days for approvals, but know this is instance wide not for a specific approval process.
Something you could try is have reminders that go to the assignee so many days before the due date so they know they need to complete said task so it can route and be approved by the planned completion date. Just a thought.
Thanks Anthony. I think we have a couple of other issues with changing document approvals to a task.
- from an aesthetic standpoint, this confirms that document approvals are really useless. :)
- from a PM standpoint, we have a pool of Reviewers to draw from, and sometimes multiple reviewers have to collaborate so there would be extra fiddling where approval processes are concerned. I can tell you they aren't on board with that.
- from a workflow perspective, as I mentioned above to Greg, there's not a way to stop the next task from showing Can Start = true (if the preceding task is showing pending approval).
You can't make it so that it doesn't add any days? I thought if you "unchecked" the box for days to add that it wouldn't add any days (haven't tested it though).
Also, doesn't ENFORCED predecessors stop the tasks from starting if it's not approved?
Why does having multiple reviewers to collaborate cause extra fiddling? I thought the approvals could be set up for multiple people and anyone can approve.
thanks Greg! We weren't told about the enforced predecessor option, so I'll go back and give that a few tests to see if it can work. I've only been asking Workfront about it for weeks so I'm not sure why they wouldn't have told me this was an option ;-)
In terms of multiple reviewers, what we have is a pool of 20 reviewers where we can pick for example 3 to review. Who we pick is going to be based on preference, expertise and availability -- so every time we go to set up an approval process it would need to be on the spot and based on whoever is there. The PMs would rather it not be so manual, I think.
Phil, I feel your pain. I think ultimately, my department wants workers to be able to start on tasks and prep for them. This ability does tend to lead to later parts of the project galloping ahead when something is stuck in review/approval.
Skye, we have used doc approvals for several months and the only way we can get a time on it is to put it in the updates on that document. We do not use predecessors because our designers work on several items at once and it is a loosing battle with predecessors, mainly because the approvers dont adhear very well to their timelines of return. In an effort to get everyone MORE on board with the approval process we are rolling out the "on line proofing" soon and even though there are a few glitches we have found a work around to get a deadline and emails to the "approver" on the document. If this is something you have licenses for I would be more that happy to tell you the work arounds we found. I was told that Workfront will be doing a patch/update to the Workfront users to intergrate some of the ProofHQ items by summer. I was disappointed that it did not roll out this past weekend as promised at the DFW regional meeting. Bummer. Let me know if I can help out.