In Review

Workflow Migration Retrofitting Tool

Steve Smith 6 months ago in Productivity Management updated 6 months ago 5

It would be extremely helpful to develop a tool that would allow any workflow changes to be retroactively applied to workflows that are In Progress at the time workflow changes are published in production. We’ve run into several scenarios where we’ve made updates to a workflow template and those changes are only applied to new workflows that are started after the template changes are finalized in production. This causes a variety of issues, including the fact we have many different versions of what are essentially the same workflows in process. Working in a regulated industry, this can expose us to potential risks since we need to maintain documentation to support each version of the workflows and this is confusing for admins and users. A tool to help alleviate this issue would be great.

Configuration Movers Workflow Maintenance

I can totally appreciate that not all updates can be accommodated. It would be great if it could be scaled to at least meet the most common needs. Our workflows probably aren't complex (compared to other companies), so even a scaled down version of a tool would be a huge benefit.

I’d welcome that discussion, Eric.  We currently are restarting 1156 projects by hand for this release.  As we scale even more we will easily have 1500+ projects in flight at any moment. It greatly impacts our release roadmap for functional enhancements because of this workflow versioning. Even DCT changes don’t take effect. You could put some rules around what can be done or not with regard to pathing. We know for example what are pathing-impacting fields and we’d never let those changes go without a full release. Let me know when you want to get some people together to discuss!

In Review

We have heard this on and off over the years and it has been discussed internally.  There would be some technical work Aprimo would need to sort out but that is not really the biggest hurdle.

It could present a lot of challenges in execution.  We designed it this way so that old processes could continue and new processes could be deployed.

If you modify a workflow process and add a new DCT to display on Task 4 of a workflow and then you are using values entered in that DCT to drive routing further down in the process, if we apply the changes to running workflows if the project is already past step 4 then the project will get stuck in the later stages because the information for routing is missing since it was not collect on that step.  Or if you add a branch in the process that includes a few new parallel steps, then when the branch converges again, on that step you set it to say that task should not start until ALL paths have completed.  If a workflow is already past the initial branch point but not yet to the converging step, then that "new" path will never complete so that next task will never start, etc.

So there would just be tons of situations where workflows that are already running could and would get stuck.  This could cause a lot of frustration and a lot of support calls and troubleshooting to figure out why something is stuck.

However, I think we could look at options to maybe pick and choose certain things that could apply retroactively.  I believe if you change a DCT and add or remove a field that applies right away.  But adding or removing an entire DCT to display on a task does not take effect until the next use of the template.  Inserting subworkflows could be another item to considered but that does get trickier.

Maybe we can try to come up with what are the common changes that would make sense to apply to active processes and see what we can come up with.  This could also be a good round table like discussion with a group on a call as well maybe.

This has always been an issue for us and we would welcome this enhancement.

I know this has been around as an issue forever, but perhaps a new approach could be discussed where more TYPES of changes can be applied to existing workflows.  Maybe smaller changes like DCTs at least?