Workflow On/Off: Still Triggers Action

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Hi There!

There has been something bugging me for some time now and I can't seem to figure out the issue.

I have over 100+ workflows built in a ticketing system that is triggered off of activity status changes, etc.

Every workflow has a condition setup on it stating, when the Workflow On/Off (field) is On, complete so and so action. I do this so that when I want to backfill something or correct something from the row in the past, I can turn the Workflow On/Off (field) Off, select Save, complete the action, select Save to save the action taken, then turn the Workflow On/Off (field) back On, selecting Save again so that the automations will work moving forward.

What's happening after I've completed these actions is the automations are still triggered and will send out notifications, and complete status changes, etc.

What am I doing wrong???

Best Answer

  • ker9
    ker9 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
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    @Jonna Critchley

    A possible reason would be if the workflow is triggered by row change event, any change will trigger the event. When you change it back to "on", it is triggered.

    I suggest an auto update to mark a new field complete or add a date when the workflow is completed that you can use as a condition, however, with 100+ automations, that might be impractical.

    If you are making changes to existing data and not someone that regularly triggers the workflows for other reasons, it might be possible to use your name in the modified by column as a condition not to run a workflow.

    Hope this helps!

Answers

  • Jonna Critchley
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    @Paul Newcome

    Here is an example:

    Trigger: When rows are changed

    When 'Release Type - Recommendation' changes

    Condition (1)

    Where 'Workflow On/Off' is one of

    'On'

    Request an Update

    Send to contacts in a cell

    Facilitators

    (message here)

    Request an Update

    (message here)


    ....so I'll go in, turn off the workflow, save, update the 'Release Type - Recommendation', save, then turn the workflow back on, save, and it sends out the two Request an Update notifications.

    I don't know why.

    So I always have to send out a disregard notification email which is ANNOYING!

  • ker9
    ker9 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    Options

    @Jonna Critchley

    A possible reason would be if the workflow is triggered by row change event, any change will trigger the event. When you change it back to "on", it is triggered.

    I suggest an auto update to mark a new field complete or add a date when the workflow is completed that you can use as a condition, however, with 100+ automations, that might be impractical.

    If you are making changes to existing data and not someone that regularly triggers the workflows for other reasons, it might be possible to use your name in the modified by column as a condition not to run a workflow.

    Hope this helps!

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Are you able to provide a screenshot of the automation?

  • Jonna Critchley
    Jonna Critchley ✭✭✭
    edited 04/06/24
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    @Paul Newcome

    yes here you go...

    I get what @ker9 is saying, but not sure the last modified would work as I'm the main modifier in there, so it would then not trigger the workflow because my name was there.


    Same issue, but in another sheet with workflows setup the same with a Workflow On/Off column and each workflow is setup with a Condition that the Workflow On/Off needs to be On for it to work.

    I needed to do some major fixes to the sheet, so I indicated Off on all the rows in that column to ensure whatever I was doing wasn't triggering any workflows. Now I'm afraid to mark them back as On again - as I have a bad feeling it's going to set off all the workflows....thoughts?

    Thinking the only solution to not triggering a workflow is to manually turn off the workflow.

    Is there a bulk want to turn off and on workflows?

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    When you save, are you making sure that the only action completed before saving is checking the box to turn them back on?


    Turn off

    Save

    Make adjustments

    Save

    Turn on

    Save


    Also try to give it a few minutes before turning back on and saving.

  • Jonna Critchley
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    @Paul Newcome Yes sir, I always turn off, save, do the action, save, then turn on the workflow, save.

    I think @ker9 might have been on to something, but it doesn't make sense...

    I would think picking the 'when rows are changed' option and you pick the specific field, it would mean when that field changes, not when something in the row changes, or am I miss understanding what that means.

    Because I think what @ker9 is saying is happening. It doesn't matter what field I indicated, it's only tracking when a change is made to the entire row, which seems VERY odd.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    How long are you letting it sit between saves / actions? I almost wonder if there is a delay with the workflow running (Smartsheet documentation says it could take up to 15 minutes, but I have never seen it take more than a few) so that by the time the workflow runs for the change being made, you have already turned it back on so the condition is in fact met.

  • Jonna Critchley
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    @Paul Newcome so you're saying that if a workflow says the trigger is a row change, it's not that changing the workflow on/off field on the row to on or off is what is triggering the change, it's timing?

  • ker9
    ker9 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    If the conditions are met, it will run on row change. Your workflow is set to run if the row changes and On/Off is On. I would expect it to run when you change it to On.

    Is there an additional parameter you can use for conditions? Perhaps you have a column that is holding the status of the update request (Pending/Approved/Declined) and the workflow shouldn't run if one or all of those conditions are met?

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @ker9 Generally speaking, I would agree with you, but in the above screenshots it is shown that the trigger is a specific column changing.


    @Jonna Critchley Based on the screenshots of your automation, it wouldn't be changing the on/off field that is triggering it. The trigger is set up, but I think that it may be just a delay on the back-end with the workflow running after you have turned things back on.

  • Jonna Critchley
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    @Paul Newcome hmm ok, the next time this comes up, i'll try to leave some time in between the turning off and on the workflow and see if that solves it. Appreciate your time and the time of @ker9 !

  • ker9
    ker9 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 04/10/24
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    Are we sure the workflow that is running is the one in the screenshots?

    It's mentioned above that there are 100+ workflows....

  • Jonna Critchley
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    @ker9 there are 100+ workflows yes and they're all setup generally the same way:

    I won't go crazy with screenshots of all of them, but here are a couple and as you can see they're all setup the same:

    "When rows are changed, when xxxx changes to xxxxx, where workflow on/off is one of On, alert someone."

    It's not just on the alert someone actions though, it does it on auto status changes, etc.

    The whole thing drives me nutso because it will randomly decide to complete an action after turning the workflow column back to on.

    I have 3 systems I created that are based on this: MMS with 114 workflows (work request tracking), MACTS with 74 workflows (certification tracking), and MISOS with 53 workflows (service order tracking).

    I "broke" MISOS last week and when fixing it, I set the workflow on/off column to off. But before turning that column back to on again, just to make sure, I deactivated the 53 workflows first, put the column and all the rows back to on, and then activated the workflows again - wouldn't be such a big deal if there were one activate all / deactivate all workflows button - but alas there was not.

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