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Document Review/Approval Workflow - Need help writing one

Question asked by matt.jones on May 13, 2015
Latest reply on Sep 19, 2016 by albin.augustine@dssmith.com

Hello everyone,

 

I have been tasked with writing a document review/approval workflow for my company but I'm running into a lot of issues. No matter how many holes I plug in my workflow, my users keep finding more. Here is an outline of what I need the workflow to do:

 

Parameters:

  • It runs on documents in a document library (90% of the documents housed are Word documents)
  • The library has minor versioning turned on in order to keep track of all past versions
  • My team-members and check documents in and out as we edit and revise documents we are all working on
  • The library has a column for "Assigned To:" (e.g., Compliance, Legal, etc.) which is used to group documents into "queues"

 

Expected Workflow Action:

  • Once a document is ready for interdepartmental review and approval, any user on my team can manually start this "review/approval" workflow
  • The initiator will specify the department(s) that need to review/approve the document by selecting them from a preset list of department choices
  • The Workflow will reassign the document to the first reviewing department's "queue" and alert the department that they have an approval task waiting
    • More often than not, the reviewing department will need to red-line/mark-up changes on the document and then return it to the initiator to accept/reject the changes (this is not a simple "Approve"/"Reject" situation)
    • Once the initiator accepts the changes, the document returns to the reviewing department for final approval
  • Reviewing department will grant final approval
  • The Workflow will reassign the document to the next department's "queue", and so on until all required departments have approved
  • The Workflow must diligently record when a department has approved a document and who approved it

 

Issues Encountered:

  • The combination of requiring check-out/check-in and running approval Flexitasks has caused the workflows to error regularly
  • Since this is not a simple "Accept"/"Reject" action for the reviewing department, the Workflow needs to be very robust to allow for a wide range of possible paths to final approval
  • My co-workers are not accustomed to checking documents back in (due to lack of SharePoint experience) and this is causing the workflow to pause indefinitely, but forcing the workflow to check the document back in is causing workflow errors

 

Is there anyone out there who can provide me some best practices on designing this workflow in a clean, stable way? Surely there must be solid examples of a document review/approval workflow that also utilizes document versioning but I can't seem to find one anywhere.

 

Thank you for your help,

-Jones

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