Approval Workflow - Triggers for Comments

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Hi,

I have currently implemented a workflow that records Approval responses up to 3 times for the same request if the approver needs more information. This is a clunky implementation and I am looking for ways to improve it by simply using "comments".

The outcome I'd like to see is:

  1. Employee completes form and triggers the Approval Request
  2. Approver receives request and can "Approve" or "Ask for more Info"
    1. Approver has option to add a comment about the info he needs
  3. "Ask for more info" triggers an update request where employee sees the comment in the Update Request and can then reply with a comment.
  4. New comment triggers the Approval Request where Approver can see comment and either "Approve" or "Ask for more Info"
  5. Cycle repeats at least one more time before it can be rejected or Approved.


Currently, I have columns "Response 1", "Response 2" , etc... but this is not intuitive and the users (employee and Approver) do not get a good experience and then just resort to email. Allowing this interaction via comments will feel more natural and will encourage them to use Smartsheet as the mechanism.

My attempts to implement it as described in the 5 points above has led to Update Request being sent before the Approver has made comments or next Approval Request being sent before employee has made comments.

If someone has done this or similar before, please point me to the use case so I can implement best practice.


Thank you in advance!

Answers

  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Hi @Matt Kirby

    I hope you're well and safe!

    Have you explored using the Proofing feature instead?

    Would that work/help?

    I hope that helps!

    Be safe and have a fantastic week!

    Best,

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    Did my post(s) help or answer your question or solve your problem? Please support the Community by marking it Insightful/Vote Up or/and as the accepted answer. It will make it easier for others to find a solution or help to answer!

    SMARTSHEET EXPERT CONSULTANT & PARTNER

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E:andree@workbold.com | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me for help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or anything else.

  • Matt Kirby
    Matt Kirby ✭✭✭✭
    edited 07/14/21
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    @Andrée Starå ,

    Thank you for the response. As I understand "Proofing" is for files that may be attached. In our case, the Approver is reviewing data collected from a form and either approving based on satisfying the requirements or asking for more clarification or details surrounding a particular item(s) which was in the submission. There is no attachment to proof, it is more scraping and analyzing data collected by the form and asking follow up questions.

    Does that help explain it better?

  • Matt Kirby
    Matt Kirby ✭✭✭✭
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    It's important to note, the Approver and the submitter are not always Smartsheet users. They are participants in the workflow and get notified by email and are asked to take an action, but they are not expected to log in to Smartsheet and perform anything.

  • Matt Kirby
    Matt Kirby ✭✭✭✭
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    I think I have this working, but it requires 7 steps total. Here is how it is currently built in order to only record responses in the comments section. I will only focus on the path where it is NOT Approved. If it approved the flow has opportunity to end at 1,4 and 7. I had to use a mix of separate workflows for Approval Request, cell changes, and Update Requests.

    Declined equals "Need More Info" in all steps except step #7.

    1. Approval workflow is triggered by creation of new row (Form is submitted). Approver adds comments. Change to status "Pending" when Declined
    2. When status is "Pending" send Update Request to form submitter. Include new question prompted set up a call between Approver and submitter?. (Only needed to have a unique trigger, since comments can not be discerned between Approver or submitter). No option to ONLY send comments in Update Request, requires a different field to be sent.
    3. If set up a call between Approver and submitter? is not blank trigger change cell of Approval status to "Response recorded"
    4. Trigger Request for Approval when Approval Status equals "Response recorded". If declined set status to "2nd Approval Request sent"
    5. If status equals "2nd Approval Request sent" Update Request sent to submitter again to review comments and provide further clarification. Prompted set up a call between Approver and submitter and close?
    6. When set up a call between Approver and submitter and close? is not blank change status to "2nd Response added"
    7. If status is "2nd response added" Send final Approval request where the workflow will end with either Approve or Decline


    I really hope someone can look at this and tell me a simpler way to build this. I had to add some steps that I feel are unnecessary just to get the workflow to differentiate between triggering on comments from Approver vs Submitter. If I try to stack them, the approver and submitter get double the notifications and out of order.

  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Matt Kirby

    Thanks for your patience!

    How did it go? Did you figure out a better workflow?

    SMARTSHEET EXPERT CONSULTANT & PARTNER

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E:andree@workbold.com | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me for help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or anything else.