frevvo 6 – Workflow Escalations (part 3)

Workflow stuck?

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This is the 3rd and final article describing the workflow escalations feature introduced in frevvo 6. In the previous articles (part 1 and part 2), we learned how to set a deadline for a step and employ notifications and reminders to help keep the process running smoothly. This article introduces another type of action to take when a deadline is reached: reassignment.

Automatic Reassignment

To illustrate reassignment we’ll refer to the expense report process from the previous articles on escalations. In this process an employee submits an expense report (step 1), the employee’s manager approves it (step 2) and the accounting department fulfills it (step 3). The accounting department has a mandate to process an expense report within 1 week after manager approval.

When the manager approves the expense report, a task will show up on the task list for all users in the accounting department. Once a user starts working on a task, it is now “claimed” which means it will appear only on that user’s task list. The expense report will disappear from the rest of the accounting department’s task list which prevents multiple users from attempting to work on the same task at the same time. However, what happens if Joe from accounting starts working on a task but can’t complete it for some reason? The workflow is now stuck in Joe’s queue.

Prior to frevvo 6, the only option was to have an administrator find the task, unlock it and reassign it back to the accounting role. Notifications and reminders raise awareness that our process is in jeopardy of missing a deadline but still requires a manual process for resolution when sitting in one person’s list.

Reassignment was introduced specifically to address these scenarios automatically and efficiently. With reassignment we can ensure nothing gets stuck by assigning anything that hasn’t been completed in a certain amount of time back to the accounting department.  Since accounting doesn’t want to miss their 7 day commitment, we’ll trigger reassignment on day 6.

Once again in the frevvo flow designer, select the accounting step and click Setup Escalations:

esc-designer1

Now on the Setup Escalations page we’ll start by specifying the timeframe (complete within 6 days):

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.32.47 AM

The actions we configure will trigger 6 days after the manager completes the previous step.  Next we need to select the assignee type which determines how to do the assignment.  There are three options: user, role and potential owners.  If user or role is selected, the flow designer must specify a comma delimited list of users or roles.  If the user or role needs to vary based on data in the workflow, a template string can be used instead of an explicit user or role. This means a business rule can be used to dynamically determine the assignment.

The 3rd option is Potential Owners which will refers to the users and/or roles that area already configured for the step.  In our case the step was assigned to the Accounting role so we’d pick potential owners. It is better to select potential owners in this case rather than specify accounting again.  This way if the configuration of roles and users that can perform a step changes, the escalation won’t need to be modified and will automatically pick up that change.  Our final reassignment configuration looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.42.13 AM

Any tasks locked by a user after 6 days will automatically be reassigned to the accounting role where someone else can complete the process.

Conclusion

Workflows in frevvo can now be configured with multiple deadlines for any step. A deadline can be configured to trigger based on when a task must be started or completed and each deadline can be configured to trigger notifications, reminders and/or automatic reassignment. Escalations is a powerful new feature that can greatly enhance any business process backed by a frevvo workflow. To learn more please check out the user documentation that describes these features in depth.

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