How to get an approval after a decline in the automated approval request workflow?

Hi All,

I have created an automated workflow based on a form submission that asks for the Approval of at least 3 individuals/roles. If an Approver declines, it will send and update request to the originator (Project Manager) and ask them to update information in the form. Once the Project Manager has updated the form, the workflow needs to go back to the individual that denied it for re-approval and then continue to the next person in the workflow.

What is the best way to make this happen? I can provide screenshots if needed.


  • Stefan
    Stefan ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Nawal,

    something like this?

    1) You get the initial input via a webform -> creates a new row

    2) The sheet has 3. approval columns and associated automations trigger one after another, when an a field is set to "approved".

    3) Additional automations are triggered by an approval field set to "revise" (I would reserve "declined" for finally declined entries). The automation sends an update request for the row to the original creator. In this request the creator has to manually (maybe automated possible too) has to provide additional information and to increment a version field.

    4) The new version number triggers another automation asking again for approval from the person who asked for revision.

    And so on...

    Requires multiple workflows and you have to take good care for the triggers not to call more than one workflow.

    How will the project manager know what exactly he/she has to update? Comment in the row?

    Hope this helps


    Smartsheet Consulting, Solution Building, Training and Support.

    Projects for Processes and for People.

  • Hey Stefan,

    Thanks for the advice. I have modified my workflow so that I have one "main" workflow and 3 separate workflows which should be triggered by a change to the PM Status (Approved) to either Revision 1, Revision 2, or Revision 3.

    I have also tried this with a checkbox, one for PM Approved, and 3 separate checkbox columns for Revision 1, Revision 2, and Revision 3.

    Once an Approver asks for a revision from the Project Manager (PM), the PM gets an update request containing the columns which can be updated. The PM will have to look at the Approvers comments (at the bottom of the update request) to see what may need to be updated. This is not limited to one item, it could be one or multiple items on the form. The PM would then need to change their status from "PM Approved" to "Revision 1" "Revision 2" or "Revision 3" depending on the revision version. (Although this is not ideal since an update request doesn't allow you to make a field required, it seems like it might be the only option).

    Once the PM changes their status to a Revision, it should trigger one of the 3 Revision workflows.

    The issue I am currently having is that all 3 of my revision workflows and my main workflow are running EVEN WHEN the PM has not changed the PM status to "Revision 1, 2, or 3". I thought that a workflow can only be triggered... when a trigger is met. In this case it would be when the PM status is changing to a Revision.

    Also I have tried this using a drop down single select option (PM Approve, Revision 1, 2, and 3) and also with a PM Approve Checkbox and three Checkbox columns, Revision 1, 2, and 3 and I am running into the same issue (workflow is triggering even when trigger is met).

    I have included some screenshots, please advise.

  • Stefan
    Stefan ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Nawal Jibawi ,

    that's odd.

    For my understanding, when exactly does the workflow for the Revision fire? It should be triggered only, if you change the "PM Status" field in a row to "Revision 1" and then save the sheet. What are you doing in the sheet that also triggers the workflow?

    Have you tried to use the trigger "when a row changes" ?

    For the status options I would go with the dropdown.

    Hope this helps


    Smartsheet Consulting, Solution Building, Training and Support.

    Projects for Processes and for People.

Help Article Resources

Want to practice working with formulas directly in Smartsheet?

Check out the Formula Handbook template!