Workflow Task Actions Version 2.0.0.0Print this Page
Notifications and Approvals Pattern Group
 
Description
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This pattern describes all the available workflow task actions and how they are presented to the user in task detail pages and worklist tables.
 
Pattern Details
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Task actions are clasified as system actions and custom actions. System actions are common actions generically supported by the infrastructure (that is, Save, Request Information, Claim, Withdraw), while custom actions (Approve, Reject, Confirm Receipt) set the outcome of a task and vary from task to task. The actions that appear depend on the state of the task (assigned, completed, and so on) and the privileges that are granted to the user viewing the task. For example, when an approval task is assigned to an individual, the Approve and Reject buttons appear along with other applicable actions such as Request Information and Save. However, if the same task is assigned to a group, only the Claim button appears. Approve and Reject will only appear once the task is claimed by a user. Also, Withdraw appears only for the creator of the task.

Custom Actions

As mentioned earlier, custom actions determine the outcome of a task and are defined to each task type. For example:

  • Approval tasks: Approve and Reject
  • Order received confirmation task: Received, Not Received, Partially Received
  • New hire offer confirmation task: Offer Accepted, Offer Rejected, No Answer

System Actions

The following system actions are supported.

  • Request information: Enables a user to ask a question to the requester or anyone in the approval list before making a decision. A dialog box appears where the user can enter comments and select a user.
  • Reassign: Provides the options to delegate or transfer in a dialog box.
    • Delegate: The current assignee can delegate a task to another user or group. The delegated task appears in both the original user's and the delegated user's worklists. The delegated user can act on behalf of the original assignee and has the same privileges for that task as the original assignee.
    • Transfer: The current assignee can transfer ownership of a task to a differet user. This action removes the action from the current assignee's worklist.
  • Adhoc Route: Appears if there is no predetermined sequence of approvers or if the workflow was designed to permit ad hoc routing. In this case, a task assignee can invite other participants into the workflow before routing it to the next assignee. The ad hoc route dialog box allows the selection of one or more users for routing, whether the list of assignees is for simple (group assignment to all users), sequential, or parallel assignment. In the case of parallel assignment, the user has to specify the percentage of votes required for approval.
  • Push Back: Sends a task up one level in the workflow to the previous assignee.
  • Escalate: Enables the end user to escalate the task to the next person in the chain.
  • Skip Current Assingment: Skips the current assignment and moves on to the next approver in the approval list. If the current assigneed is the last approver, then this action completes the approval. This action can be enabled only for administrators and task owners.
  • Claim: If a task is assigned to a group or multiple users, then the task must be claimed first. Claim is the only action available in the Task Action list for group or multiuser assignments. After a task is claimed, all applicable actions are listed.
  • Release: If a task is assigned to a group or multiple users, the task can be released if the user who claimed the task cannot complete the task. Any of the other assignees can claim and complete the task from then on.
  • Renew: Appears when the task is about to expire or has expired. Selecting this action will extend the deadline by a number of days (default is seven), as specified by the administrator. For this option to appear, this option must be enabled for the task.
  • Suspend: If a task is not relevant at present, a user can suspend the task. The task is suspended indefinitely until the task is resumed. Suspending and resuming tasks are available only to users who have been granted the proper role. Actions that update a task are disabled after suspension.
  • Resume: Appears only if the task has been suspended. After a task is resumed, all applicable actions are listed.
  • Submit: This button is the only action available when a user is requested to supply more information.
  • Withdraw: If the creator of a task does not want to continue with the task, the creator can withdraw the task. For example, the creator of a vacation request can cancel that request. The business process determines what happens next.
  • Dismiss: Closes a task that requires the assignee to acknowledge receipt but not take any action (for example, an information only (FYI) task). Informational tasks have expiration dates, at which time the tasks are closed or automatically dismissed.
  • Save: Saves any changes made to the approval, such as added comments or attachments. The user can later return to complete the task.

Tasks Details Page: Page-Level Actions

Task actions appear as page-level actions in the tasks details page. The page-level actions region supports up to three buttons and an actions menu. Becausee actions are available or unavailable based on the current state of the task, the following logic is used to dynamically display the applicable actions:

  • Up to three custom actions appear as buttons. Any remaining custom actions appear first in the Actions menu. The order of the actions is determined by the developer.
  • If there are any button slots left (of the three), they are taken up by Withdraw, Pushback, Escalate, Release, Suspend, or Renew. Any remaining system actions appear in the Actions menu.
  • The Save button always appears last in the Actions menu.

Worklist Table: Actions Menu

Task actions always appear in the Actions menu of the Worklist table provided by the SOA team. Custom actions appear first, followed by system actions, as shown in figure 2. Buttons are not supported because the available actions vary from task to task as the user selects different table rows.

Multiselect Actions

The non-federated Worklist table supports multiselect actions. When the user selects a single row, the actions applicable to the selected row appear in the Actions menu. When the user selects multiple rows, the actions menu displays the common set of actions that apply to the set of selected rows.

If the action requires a dialog box, the dialog box used for the single-select action is used, but the changes are applied to the selected rows. For example, if the user selects three tasks, and then selects Request Information, the data entered into the fields of the Request Information dialog box will be applied to each task. The action has the same effect of independently performing the same action for each row.

Task Actions in Email

The workflow system automatically converts the online task details page to a read-only version and routes it to the assignees using email. The main actions, such as Approve and Reject appear as links that enable users to take action directly from the email message. Other actions like Request Information and Ad Hoc Route are available only in the online version. For more information, see the Email Notifications pattern in this set.

Approval Details Page, no contextual region
Figure 1. Task actions in sample approval details page
Approval Details Page, no contextual region
Figure 2. Sample actions menu in a worklist table

Table 1. Task actions in order of appearance in task details pages and worklist tables

Task Detail Pages Worklist Tables
From left-to-right, the Actions menu appears first, followed by appropriate buttons.  
  • Actions Menu
    • <Custom Action 4>
    • ...
    • <Custom Action N>
    • ---
    • Request Information...
    • Reassign...
    • Adhoc Route...
    • Push Back
    • Escalate
    • -----
    • Release
    • Renew
    • Suspend
    • Withdraw
    • Skip Current Assignment
    • -----
    • Save
  • Buttons (left to right, up to 3 total)
    • Claim
    • Resume
    • Submit
    • Dismiss
    • <Custom Action 1>
    • <Custom Action 2>
    • <Custom Action 3>
  • Actions Menu
    • <Custom Action 1>
    • <Custom Action 2>
    • <Custom Action 3>
    • ...
    • Custom Action N
    • -----
    • Claim
    • Resume
    • Submit
    • Dismiss
    • -----
    • Request Information...
    • Reassign...
    • Adhoc Route...
    • Push Back
    • Escalate
    • -----
    • Release
    • Renew
    • Suspend
    • Withdraw
    • Skip Current Assignment

Note that not all tasks appear at the same time. Applicable tasks appear based on the definition of the task and the state of the task at run time.

 
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