I currently track all of our department's Workfront review times in a spreadsheet but have been looking for some time for a way to track it using Workfront's reporting features. So, currently, I put in the spreadsheet the date the review is due, and once the review takes place, I replace that with the number of days it took, with conditional formatting to color code if the person has gone past their allotted review time. I can sometimes spend 2+ per day tracking all our projects, as we have multiple reviewers.
I know there is a way to track it within Workfront Proof's reporting system, but our team adds reviewers to the documents in Workfront, rather than in the proof or using an automatic workflow and so Workfront Proof doesn't detect when approvals come in. Has anyone been able to use the reporting features within Workfront to track review times on documents?
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Although we don't yet have a solution to help you visualize the progress and (more pointedly) the "whose desk is it stuck on hold ups" associated with Workfront Approvals, I am interested to learn more details (e.g. are these Task Approvals, Issue Approvals, Document Approvals; how complex are the Approval Paths; what does the end result of your manual tracking look like, etc.) if it would be possible to share more.
These are document approvals; there several metrics I track manually for each project, but this one in particular deals with how long a piece has been on a specific reviewer. Our process allows five business days per reviewer, so I track that currently in an Excel sheet by putting in the date their review is due, and when they do review, putting in the number of days they took to review. This information is used on scorecards for monthly reporting.
I hope that answers your question, but please let me know if there are more details I can provide!
In that case, I think there might be an opportunity to pick some low hanging document-approval fruit.
Documents are one of the objects within Workfront that supports custom data; albeit used less often than others such as Projects, Tasks, Issues, Users, etc., and not quite as easy to work with (i.e. no bulk updating). Given the former, and working around the latter (using our Excel Updater solution, which does allow bulk updating of documents) when the time comes, you could:
The tricky bit, as always, would be to noodle out the calculations for each of the custom parameters I've outlined, and for the first crack at this technique, it would be easiest to assume one reviewer per document. Once it's going, though, I suspect it could be broadened to account for multiple reviewers, rejections, etc. too.
Considering you're currently spending 2+ days sometimes to figure this all out (as, perhaps, are others following along), this strikes me as an avenue worth pursuing, since it could not only quickly pay back the time you're spending manually shuffling and tracking data, but could also replace your current analysis with some insightful and actionable reporting.
I'd be happy to chat further via email -- firstname.lastname@example.org
I am wondering whether a document approval report would give you what you need. This is what I used in a previous instance to track doc approvals.
While the standard doc approval report has all the basic columns that you seem to need, you can also use some calculated data expressions to help refine.
One of the most crucial pages that help advance report creation abilities further is this one: https://one.workfront.com/s/document-item?bundleId=workfront-classic&topicId=Content%2FReports_and_D...
On this page, I see a great looking "addweekdays" expression, which you can use to set up a column for the due date on a doc approval request. (just add 5 weekdays to your request date column)
Similarly, creating another column for a "weekdaydiff" calculation between request and approval date would give you how long the reviewer took.
I feel somewhat sure there's also code out there to help you format for length of time > 5 days but it's a bit lengthy to go into here and I wanted to keep this post short.
Great suggestions Skye,
I’d overlooked using a Document Approval report, but agree that it would be an even easier real-time replacement for @Sarah Stonestreet ’s manual Excel efforts, especially with the ADDWEEKDAYS trick. With that working, if she then wants to be able to filter and chart the data (which requires the data to be persisted in the database), she could then consider the custom data avenue I proposed.
Good luck with it Sarah ‚Äî I’m interested to hear how you make out.
hi Doug, thanks for letting me know about Sarah's post and glad I was able to help jog your memory. We weren't able to chat very much about this yesterday but I would love to hear more about this kind of use whenever we next have time and you have inclination. From what I can see, attaching a custom form to the document is a very manual effort (one at a time) unless you have some automation assist -- so definitely let me know if I have missed anything. If not, this leads to a rare exception where I'll avoid the global use of document custom forms whenever possible just because user adoption could be painful.
Thank you @Skye Hansen‚ and @Doug Den Hoed‚ ! I will look into both of your suggestions and see which one works out best for the metrics I'm tracking. I appreciate it!
Great sidebar (although we’re getting off topic for Sarah)‚Ä¶
A month or so ago, you’d mentioned something about tagging custom data on documents within Workfront, which I somewhat hesitantly said I would normally use the Excel Updater to do, since bulk updating documents within Workfront isn’t supported. A few days later, I confirmed the reason for my hesitation: it turned out that Excel Updater also could not support bulk updating custom forms on documents unless the custom form already existed on the document‚Ä¶defeating the concept. So I cracked the code and dug into the details, eventually confirming an underlying exception in the Workfront API where it “claims” to attach the custom form and update the related custom data‚Ä¶but actually doesn’t. After trying a number of different angles, however, I figured out a “two-pass” workaround, which now allows the Excel Updater to effectively attach Custom Data to documents that have NO Custom Form on them by simply running the Excel Updater twice.
With that fresh improvement in hand, I then returned to my immediate usecase, which was to export 30K documents out of a Workfront environment that had over half a million documents: I simply exported list of the 30K to Excel, added a couple of columns to the spreadsheet (ie Category ID and AtApp Export Date), ran the Excel Updater (twice), and then used our Workfront Merge logic to export “only” the 30K that I needed (which in turn, I then Merged into the new target environment). Although it sounds a bit boring now that it is working, it really did get me out of a jam, since ‚Äì otherwise ‚Äì the best option I could think of was to create a special user and “Revoke” access to all of the documents other than the 30K I needed‚Ä¶2000 at a time‚Ä¶noting that the 30K was a moving target‚Ä¶yikes.
More generically, now that Excel Updater is Smarter, it opens up a world of possibilities for easily tagging documents with custom data such as:
¬∑ Sarah’s management and reviewing of Audit Times
¬∑ Adding meta data for reporting purposes
¬∑ Tagging “official” documents across projects (e.g. Official Spec, Contract, Budget, Final Version, etc.)
¬∑ Augmenting workflow (e.g. by assigning a Team ID, a Group ID, a Role ID, and/or User ID)
¬∑ And many morrrrrre‚Ä¶
Got anything in particular in mind?
For more conversation about managing content and documents in Workfront we have a great Leap session from James at Synchrony who shared how they manage all their content review and approvals there - and he's offering to answer any questions you might have here. IF it's helpful at all!