Creating a workflow

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2019 04:57PM CET

You can use workflow management to create online forms for tasks with basic approvals or tasks with a complex level of approvals that involves several interconnected steps, people and processes.
Such task could be requesting for annual leave from your supervisor which could be accepted or rejected, receiving job application forms from several people where you can send a rejection or acceptance notification to applicants. As an administrator in a school, you can use the workflow to send students details across departments amongst many use cases of the workflow.
Creating a workflow on a form on Formplus is a one-time process. This means that once you create a workflow for a form, it is automatically integrated into the form and will always be on the form.
A workflow can have multiple stages (multi-level approval) or just a single stage (single-level approval)

 

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Procedures for creating a workflow

Kindly follow the steps below to integrate workflow into your form:
- Sign up/sign in to Formplus.
- Create/Select the form to be used for the Workflow (Please note that workflow forms need to have a required email address field so ensure to add an email field to your workflow form and make it required). After selecting the form, head over to the dashboard.

- Click on the Workflow tab on your Dashboard to be redirected to the workflow page, as shown in the image below




- On the Workflow page, click on the Create Workflow button at the top right of the page as shown in the image below




- A modal as seen in the image below will be displayed.



​- Name your workflow process and select a form to be used for this workflow process (Please note that any form to be used to start a workflow process needs to contain a required email field). Click on the next button after you have named your workflow to continue

You will be redirected to a page as shown below.




1. The Dashboard tab - The main page where you create and manage the workflow stages which includes adding reviewers (reviewers are the people to either approve or deny a submission)
2.The Request tab - This request tab is where you can see all submissions or requests associated with the workflow
For the purpose of this article - creating a workflow, we will focus on the Dashboard tab.
3. This is your workflow name. In the image above, the workflow has been named "Assessment".
4. The Pen Icon - Click on this icon to edit your workflow name.
5. The active switch - This switch allows you to set your workflow active or inactive. By default, the form is set to inactive. Clicking on the switch turns it green indicating that the workflow has been activated for that form.

6. Starting Form - This is where the name of the form you have selected initially for the workflow process will be displayed. This is only displayed after you have successfully created one stage of the workflow process. We will talk more about workflow stages in a later part of the article. Please note that you can only use one form as a starting form. The starting form for one workflow cannot be used as a starting form for another workflow process
7. Trigger (New Stage) - This indicates that you are yet to create the first stage of the workflow. Once you have created the first stage, the text changes - Trigger changes to the text "First Stage" and New Stage becomes the name of your first stage.
8. Dropdown Caret icon - This icon is made active after you have created the first stage of your workflow process.
This icon displays a dropdown list of options - View, Edit and Delete.
9. Workflow Builder - This is where you set up your workflow stages. On the workflow builder, there are 4 main steps to creating a workflow stage - Basic Info, Add Reviewers, Notification, Settings. Each stage is explained below.
 


Steps to creating a workflow stage


1. Basic Info - This is the first step of creating your workflow stage and you are expected to name the workflow stage as well as the method of approval to be used for this stage. This section is required. This means you can not move on to the next stage without selecting an approval method.


 


There are two methods of approval.

1. Approve with Comment - With this option, the approver can add comments when reviewing the form. This is optional as the approver can approve/decline a submission/request even without adding a comment.
2. Approve with Form - With this option, you can include a form with which the approver can use to input additional data while reviewing the request. Selecting this option displays a drop-down listing all forms available in your account or on your current team on the team.​​ Please note that the starting form for the workflow process cannot be used to approve the workflow process and approval can only be done with one form. If the form you have selected for this action has a required field, then the approver must fill out the form before approving or declining. When creating the workflow, the stage name has a draft mode text attached to it, this indicates that the set up for that stage is still in progress.


​​2. Add Reviewers - This is the second step of setting up your workflow. At this step, you add the email address of the team members required to review a submission/requests for this stage. You will also be able to specify the required number of approvals needed before a submission/request can be marked as approved.

1. This option allows you to assign individual team member(s) or a whole team to approve a workflow process. When adding reviewers, you can add all the approvers in a team at once by selecting the team name(s) from the dropdown or add specific team members by selecting their email address. The dropdown allows you to select multiple options so you can assign to multiple teams and/or team members. Only team members with Approve permission will be listed in the dropdown, the same way if you select a team, only team members with Approve permission in the team will be assigned as reviewers to submitted requests. 
 

2. This option allows you to select an email field that has been added on the form to be used as the reviewer’s email. The owner of the email address will then be notified to approve the submission. Here is an example, Michael and Ella have both filled in a reimbursement form which must be reviewed by their supervisor. Now, they are are in different departments and therefore, they have different supervisors. If they have included the email address of their supervisors in the "Supervisor email address" field of the form, the different supervisors will get a notification to review the submission. Please note that the email address to be used must also be that of a team member. It is not advisable to add any random email address for review otherwise, the recipient will receive the review notification but will not be able to review the process. It is best to auto-populate this field on the form using the Lookup or Email Invitation functionality.
Both options to add reviewers can be used together or either of the options can be used, but you can not proceed to the next step without making use of any of the options (i.e. selecting a reviewer), as an email address is required to notify the reviewer.

If there are no teams or team members listed, then this means you are yet to create a team or invite team members to your created team. Click here to learn how to create a team and invite team members. For now, you can select your email address (which will always be listed) to proceed to the next step.


3. How many approvals are required to proceed - This option allows you to enter the minimum number of approvals that are required before the submission/request for that stage can be marked as approved most useful for when you have assigned multiple reviewers to the stage. This means that if you have set up 3 reviewers and have made 2 approvals required to proceed, then if only 2 out of the 3 reviewers have approved the request, the request at that point is marked as approved and is completed or proceeds to the next stage (if any). The default minimum approval required is 1 and you can leave it as default if you only need 1 approval before a stage can be marked as approved.

If you would prefer to see the video version of creating a workflow process in Formplus, see the video below:





 
Please note;
i. The number of reviewers you have selected should be greater than or equal to the number of minimum approvals required. This means the minimum number of approvals must be less than or equals to the number of reviewers added. The minimum number of approvals required can also not be 0. 

If you have assigned the review to a team but are still getting an error about the minimum number of approvals greater than the number of reviewers, this may mean that the members in the team with the Approve permissions are not up to the number of minimum approvals you have inputted. You can reduce the minimum number you have inputted or give more people the Approve permission in your team
ii. Only team members with the approve permission can approve a workflow, this means only team members with the Approver, Admin or Team owner role can approve a workflow process in a team. This is also applicable when assigning approval to a whole team, only team members with the approval permission can approve a workflow. You can see this link for more information on roles and permissions
 


3. Notifications - This is the third stage of the workflow and it has 3 sections; Reviewer(s) Notification Email section, Applicant Update Email section, and Team Member's Update email.
3a. Reviewers Notification Email Section - This is where the reviewers' email notification settings are configured.





1. Notify reviewers to review - This button is set active by default (green means active, while grey means inactive). Making this button active means that reviewers will receive a notification in their email once there is a review to be made. If you make this inactive, the reviewers will only be aware of a new request they need to review when they log in to the application.
2. Sender Name - The default sender name is Formplus notification. However, this can be edited to suit your brand/organization e.g Mark from Formplus.
3. Reply-To Email - This is where you input the email address to which a response to the review email is sent to. The default reply to the email is the email address associated with your Formplus account.
4. Subject - Here, you can customize the subject of your email to suit your purpose. The default subject is "You have a new assignment in {Workflow name}.
5. Email Content
(Insert Form Data) - With this, you can include data submitted on the form as part of the email sent to the reviewer. E.g Let's say your form has a name field where respondents should enter their name, you can select the name field to add within the email such that reviewers see the name of the respondent they are about to review.
6.
Email Content (Text Editor) - Here, you are able to change the default content of the email which will be sent to the reviewers to a more preferred message.

3b, Applicant Update email - Here, you decide if the applicant should get a denial or acceptance email depending on the status of their submission review for that stage, by default, this is made inactive.


Clicking on any of the options will activate the option and will
show email customization options similar to the options available in the Reviewer Notification email section as explained above.

3c. Team Member(s) Update Email - This is useful for sending updates to team members about the status of a request/submission (whether it has been approved or denied) even if they are not a reviewer. This section has all the options like the previous Reviewers notification email section.This section has all the options like the previous sections. However, there is an additional option to select the team or team members that you will like to receive the update email, as shown in the image below;

On the Email content section, you can add 
data from the Starting form and also add approval data to the email content. After you have input all options as expected, click on the Next button at the bottom left of the page to be redirected to the next step.

Settings
Give yourself a pat on the back for getting to this step. Here is the final step of the workflow stage. At this step, you can
change the default button text of the “Approve” or “Denial” button to serve your purpose. E.g Rather than Approve you can customize to accept.
Click on the Create button to successfully create
the workflow stage. If you have access to create multiple stages for a Workflow (Enterprise plan only), you will be prompted to create another stage or complete Workflow setup. Once you are done setting up your Workflow stage(s), the Workflow is made active. This means that from this point on, any submission to the Starting Form you selected at the start, will trigger a workflow process.

Please note that:

  • Workflows are only available on the Platinum and Enterprise plan.
  • On the Platinum plan, you can only have 10 active Workflows at the same time