The SharePoint 2010 Task Process Designer

Back in January, I wrote an article for SPTechWeb, about the new task process designer in SharePoint 2010 workflows.

The SharePoint 2010 Task Process Designer

In the enterprise version of SharePoint 2010, there is a new functionality in SharePoint Designer 2010 workflows called the “Task Process Designer.” A task process is essentially a workflow inside a workflow, is highly customizable, and is used in the assigning of tasks to people within workflows.

Where can I find it? When you open your SharePoint 2010 site in SharePoint Designer 2010 and create a new workflow, there are three different actions that can be selected that will add task processes to your workflow: •    Start Approval Process •    Start Feedback Process •    Start Custom Task Process

Select the Approval process when there is an item in the current list that needs to be approved or rejected by one or more people. Use the Feedback process when one or more people are assigned a task to complete and simply need to mark it as completed.

How do I use a task process? When one of the task process actions is added to a workflow, this is an example of what you will see:

tpd1

Click the blue text (these users) in order to set up the task assignments. This is what the configuration screen looks like:

In the Participants section, enter the names of the people who will need to approve this item, and select either serial or parallel. When serial is selected, each participant will be assigned a task one at a time in the order that they are entered in the interface. When parallel is selected, tasks will be assigned to all participants at the same time.

Use a combination of free-form text and lookup fields to create the task title and brief description, and enter either a set due date or a certain number of days until the task is due.

Where’s the task process? In your workflow, click the name on the action that you just added, such as “Approval” or “Feedback.” This takes you to yet another workflow screen where the task process can be tweaked:

Click on the Name in order to change the name of this process, or click next to Owner to assign a person or group as the owner of this process. This owner field can be used if there is a manager or someone that needs to stay abreast about tasks being overdue, and such.

There is a nice option in General Settings that lets you “Only allow task recipients and process owners to read and edit workflow tasks.” This is a security setting that will lock the task down. If you would like the task assignees to be able to reassign the task to someone else or make change requests back to the originator, these boxes can be checked.

The Task Form Fields section is where more fields can be added, so that any further specific information can be filled in on the task form. By default, the only field to fill in is a box for comments. The Task Outcomes section is where you can define the buttons that appear on the tasks that are assigned.

But wait! There’s much, much more! You can completely customize the whole task process by clicking the following links on this task process page: •    Change the completion conditions for this task process •    Change the behavior of a single task •    Change the behavior of the overall task process

Each of these links takes you to a complete workflow inside of a workflow. Dig in and take a look. Not only is this a good place to go in and tweak those out-of-box task e-mails, but it’s a great learning tool also.

Here are a couple of nice tricks to know:

Inside each of these task process workflows, there are additional actions that can be added, called “Task Behavior Actions.” Also, there are a few more data sources to choose from, such as current assignment stage, task process, and task process results. After you’ve added a task process and published the workflow, you’ll notice back on the main workflow information page for that workflow, in the “Forms” section on the right, there is a new InfoPath form for your new task, which can be tweaked.

And here are some great reference links:

Video: Create an approval workflow in SharePoint Designer 2010

Use the task process editor for approval workflows

Understand approval workflows in SharePoint 2010

Actions available within task actions

 

8 comments

  • hi, i have one infopath form template and published in form library.. whe i say add new document in a form library an infopath form is getting opened and i have one table with some designs as field values and saved the form. now i want to display that exact table in sharepoint 2010 out of the box webpart…is it possible? if yes how can we implement..can any one pls guide me

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  • Yes, there’s a web part called the InfoPath form web part in 2010. Put that on the page and point it to your form. Put a form library web part on the page, and create a web part connection to “get form from” from the infopath form web part, and get form from that other library view web part.

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  • Laura,
    I am having trouble in a start task approval step where I want to have multiple/custom types of approval buttons in the task form. However, the workflow and task list are not recognizing the buttons when I click on one in the task. The status on the task list remains at ‘Not Started’ and the workflow pauses. I am assuming I am missing something fundamental. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

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  • I decided to try a different approach to the Task Approval from my earlier Post: Instead of having multiple Approval buttons in the Task Form, I decided to create a Task Form Field/Site Column that would be a choice field of the differing levels of approval. The Form populates and the Task completes, however, the field does not populate back to the Task List and the WF doesn’t work because of other actions are based on the levels of approval from this field. I researched and found some info regarding this, but don’t understand the workaround. If you could take a look at it and give me your take on it, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.

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  • Hi Michael,
    Did you create actual “outcomes” in your task process? Creating outcomes and then letting the workflow generate a new InfoPath form is what I would have done.

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  • odd (new) to see my article as a source.. anyway.

    So the issue that I had, was that field added to a task (such as collecting comments during the approval) SHOULD be done within SPD.
    For several reasons, I had decided to create the field first, and tried to reuse the field WITHIN the workflow.

    The bug/quirk is that (for whatever reason) if the field’s internal/static name doesn’t start with “FieldName__” (which SPD does for you, behind the scenes), it’ll never get populated when the task data is submitted.

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  • Wow Scott, thanks for the insight. Looks like in SP2013 you can’t add columns at all with the new task process designer, though, just FYI.

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