Since we launched Workflow for Office 365 building workflows with task actions hasn't been as simple or as easy to use as we’d like. Today we've rectified that by releasing a new capability into Workflow for Office 365 called Task Outcomes.
With Task Outcomes, workflow designers can quickly and easily create and view multiple outcomes for tasks that meet their process need, even if they have three or four different possible outcomes directly from within the workflow designer.
Faster and easier to design
By default when you drag on a task action, you can now see that there are two outcomes, Approved and Rejected and their associated branches, which you can easily drag on other actions to further define what you want to occur depending on the outcome.
Whilst in many cases the Approve and Reject outcomes are sufficient, it is important to give the designer the flexibility to configure the outcomes to meet their specific needs, perhaps using Yes and No, or adding a third option such as More Information. With Task Outcomes you now have the flexibility to change these options as you need, directly from within the designer without the need to understand complex SharePoint concepts such as site content types and inheritance (although if you understand these, we do support their use too).
Automatically upgrading your workflows
We've also done a lot of work to make sure that your existing workflow designs will be upgraded seamlessly to use this powerful new capability. When you open an existing workflow design that captured the task outcome in avariable for evaluation later on, we will automatically populate the variable for you in the correct branches, making sure your design continues to function the way you expect it to, whilst still giving you option to redesign your workflow to leverage the task outcome branches.
Upgrade the app to get the most out of Task Outcomes
We're rolling out the Task Outcomes capability into Workflow for Office 365 now which will let you see the branches on tasks for your existing defined outcomes. However, to get the most out of the app and activate the ability to change the outcomes from within the designer, you will need to update the Workflow for Office 365 app inside your SharePoint Online site to version 22.214.171.124 by clicking on the update link visible in the Site Contents view or visiting the SharePoint Store, this may take a day or so to propagate in the store and be visible in your specific tenant.
Some common questions
Q. I already have workflows designs that use Conditional Branch actions to check the outcome of a task, will these still work?
A. Absolutely. If your workflow design evaluated a variable to determine the outcome of a task, we will seamlessly upgrade your design to ensure that variable is still populated and ensure your workflow design continues to work as you would expect.
Q. What about my running workflows with tasks?
A. They will continue to run as normal with no impact. When you republish the workflow, it will be upgraded to use the new task outcomes feature.
Q. I can’t seem to edit these new task outcomes in my tasks inside Workflow for Office 365?
A. The new task outcome feature requires you to upgrade the Workflow for Office 365 app on the site to the latest version which request additional permissions to allow the designer to change content types, only once you have done this and accepted the trust request will task outcomes become editable, until then they will reflect the outcomes defined for your default workflow task content type.
Q. How does Workflow for Office 365 store these different outcomes?
A. The Task Outcomes feature leverages out of the box Site Content Type functionality of SharePoint. When you first publish a Workflow with the new task outcomes, we will create a new content type in the site collection root site that all child workflows will inherit from, this ensures our configuration is isolated away from normal SharePoint Content Types. We do a lot of housekeeping to ensure the most efficient use of content types.
Q. I want to use my existing site content types, can I?
A. Yes you can. The task actions still allow you to choose an existing configured Site Content Type by choosing ‘Content Type’ in the action configuration.
Q. What happens when I move workflows using tasks between sites?
A. We record the configured task outcomes in the exported .NWP file and will either match them against existing content types, or take care of creating them again for you in the target site. No need to manually create the outcomes again in the target site.
Q. Will the Task Outcome variable be available for use in my new workflow moving forward?
A. With this new feature, we’ve striven to improve the usability and simplicity of the task action by adding the branches and moving the outcomes onto the canvas for the designer to see visually, removing the need for the Task Outcome variable option at all.
Q. This is great, but what about the other task features we have in on-premises?
A. Thanks We know how important having a complete task experience in Workflow for Office 365 is, look out for more key task features coming soon including Lazy Approval.