Routing Items for Approvals and Electronic Signature

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Audience

Team members, project managers and executives

Description

Email is great, but it can be a challenging way to route elements for approval. If you are tired of not knowing what stage your approval is at, then you will benefit from learning more about Project Insight approvals. Routing project documents, projects, tasks or other items is a way to capture and secure team members’ approval in more formal and report-able way. Designed for project managers, team members and sponsors, this training takes you through the approval process.

Benefits

  • Understand how the routing and approval process works
  • Learn how to capture electronic signatures on all items in the software
  • Understand how to create a template of an approval for rapid re-use

Key Points


Transcript

Routing Items for Approvals and Electronic Signature Transcript Approvals are an integral part of the project management life cycle. You need to approve project requests, projects, documents such as project charters, tasks, resource requests, specifications and design documents, and more.

Project Insight’s approval process enables you to centralize, automate and streamline your approvals. No longer will you have to email documents and manually track whether or not you received approvals. Your approvals will not go missing on someone’s desk or get lost in email boxes.

Approvals can be sent to multiple people and can be routed sequentially. You are able to track the status of approvals, collaborate and comment on approvals, and report on them.

You can initiate an approval request on almost any item in Project Insight. The most common items that you will approve are covered in this training session. Once you understand how to create approvals for one type of item, you can create it for all types of items.

Approvals on Your Dashboard

Here is a dashboard set up to manage approvals. The first section, Approval Requests, shows items that require your approval.

Click on the right arrow next to Approval Requests to collapse it.

Click on the right arrow next to Approval Requests I Requested to expand that section. This shows approvals that you initiated. You can manage and track the approvals you created from here.

Click on the right arrow next to Approval Requests I Requested to collapse it again.

Click on the right arrow next to Approval Notifications to expand that section. This shows approvals that were set up to receive notifications about final approval and/or completion of each approval step.

Click on the right arrow next to Approval Notifications to collapse it again.

Depending on what your role is, you may have just one of these components on your dashboard or you may have all three.

You will see more about how the information on there is used a little bit later on, but first, you are going to see how to set up approvals for files and documents.

Routing Files and Documents for Approval


Add a Document

Managing files and documents is an important part of the project management life cycle.

Document Sharing and Management is covered in detail in that training session, however, you are going to add document to a project in this session and then route it for approval as that is a very common process.

Click on the right arrow next to Projects to expand that section out.

If you hover on a project, you will see some icons that give you one click access to additional information about that project.

One of those options is the document icon.

Click on that.

That takes you to the Documents folder for that project.

To upload a file to your project documents folder, hover on the Add icon and click File.

In the Upload File, click Browse.

Browse to the file you want to upload and double click on it.

Browse to your Project Charter document.

The Name of the file is automatically entered and also the file type is set.

Click Save.

That document is now uploaded to Project Insight.

Initiate the Approval

To initiate an approval on that document, click on the document name to go to the document details.

There are two ways to initiate the approval. Hover on the Add icon and select Approval Request.

Or click on the Approvals tab.

Click the Add icon.

The Approval Request – Add form appears.

The Name or description of the Approval Request is automatically filled in with the name of the item you are approving and the words Approval Request.

You can enter in a further description about the approval.

You may set Deadline Dates and enter reasons for the Deadline. These deadlines are just reference points. They do not initiate overdue approval notifications but you can see those deadlines on your approvals reports and the dashboard so you can review it and use it to help you manage when this needs to be done.

The Format is where you can type in additional information about the request if needed.

A lot of our customers leave this blank.

Set the Items to Approve

Because you initiated the creation of this Approval Request from a specific item, the Project Charter document, Project Insight included that document automatically as the item to be approved by this request.

You could optionally attach additional items to be approved. You will see how to do that in a moment.

Setting up the Approvers

Once you have identified what it is you want to approve, the next step is to choose who needs to approve the item.

Click on the Approvers tab.

You can set up individual approvers or multiple approvers.

To add an approver, click in the drop down for Approver on gray blank line.

Click the name.

That person gets listed.

You can leave it set as one person or you can add multiple approvers.

Click in the drop down for Approver on gray blank line.

Click the name.

And add one more approver.

Click in the drop down for Approver on gray blank line.

Click the name.

You now have three people that are set as approvers on this request.

All Approvers Must Approve or Anyone Can Approve

The next option is to designate whether all the people whom you have identified as approvers have to approve, or just one of them needs to approve the item.

Click on the All Approvers Must Approve checkbox, to require that every approver listed, must review and approve the document and the project.

If you only require one of these approvers to approve it and do not mind which one it is, leave the All Approvers Must Approve checkbox unchecked.

If you do that, then each approver will receive an email and notification that there is an item that requires their approval. Once one of them approves it, then it is considered approved and the other approvers will no longer see it on their approvals even though they did not actually approve it.

Check that option on for now as you want all the approvers to approve it.

Optional Routing Sequence

If you do require all approvers to approve then you can route the approval sequentially.

Check the option, Approval Routed Sequentially to turn it on.

This means that only the first approver will receive a notification to approve the item. Once he or she approves, then the second approver will receive a notification and once he or she approves, the third approver will receive a notification and so on.

When routing sequentially, the Order number assigned to the approvers is important because it dictates the order in which it must be approved. Make sure you have that set correctly.

If you leave this option unchecked, then all the approvers will receive the approval notification at the same time. It does not matter in what order it is approved or who approved it first, as long as everyone approves it.

Attaching Additional Messages/Notes to the Approvers

When you initiate activate and send the approval request, an email will be sent to the approvers. That is a standard email that gets sent, but you can add additional information or instructions to the approvers by typing text in the Email Message Body.

Type ‘This is important.’

Setting Notifications of Approvals

As the Approval Requestor, you most likely want to get notifications about the status of the approval.

Click on Notifications.

By default, you are set to get a notification upon final approval, or when everyone has approved the document.

However, you can also add other resources to get notifications of final approvals as well, say your department manager or the PMO manager.

Just click in the drop down for Final Approval Notifications and select a resource to add them.

Click anywhere in the white space to exit it out of that list.

If you have multiple approvers and you want to get a notification each time one of them approves, click in the drop down for Approval Step Notifications.

Select your name and any other who may want those notifications.

Click anywhere in the white space to exit it out of that list.

Activate and Send Approval Request

You can create approvals and prepare them without activating and sending them.

There is this checkbox here at the bottom of each of the approvals forms.

If you leave that unchecked, you can click Save to save the approval, but it is not yet activated and sent to the approvers.

To activate and send it to the approvers, click on the checkbox.

Then click Save.

It becomes an active approval with the approval workflow initiated and the approvers are notified.

Click on the Approvals tab on the document form to see that approval and its status.

You can see the version number of the document that was sent for approval, the date and time the approval was sent and the status.

Automatically Activate and Send Approvals

You saw when you created the approval above, you manually activated and sent it. However, your system administrator can turn on the checkbox to automatically activate and send approvals as soon as you click the save icon.

Expand the left navigation.

Click on the Administration section to expand.

Click on Approval Requests.

Click on the option to Active & Send checked On By Default.

Click Save.

Routing Projects for Approval

Now, let’s create an approval for a project. In the Folders section of the left navigation, click on Projects.

Click on the Software Development project to go to the Task List View.

Collapse the left navigation.

Hover on Views and go to Status.

Hover on the Add icon and select Approval Request.

You will see that now, by default, the Active and Send Approval Request option is checked on.

You will also see the project is the item selected to be approved.

Click on Approvers.

Click in the drop down for Approvers and select one.

You are just going to have one approver for this project so leave all the other options unchecked because they are not applicable when there is only one approver.

Click Save.

By default, when you save, the approval is activated and sent.

To see that approval request for the project, click on the Related Items section to expand.

You can see the approval request for the project.

Routing Tasks for Approval

To add an approval to a task, click on the Views menu option.

Click on the task, such as the Scope Task.

Hover on the Add icon and select Approval Request.

The Scope Task is the selected item to approve.

You can also initiate an approval request on its own, from a folder, without first selecting the item you are trying to approve, and then later attach the items you want to approve.

To attach additional items to approve, click in the drop down on the gray blank line.

For example, to select multiple tasks to approve, click on the arrow next to the Projects Folder to expand it out if it is not already expanded out.

Click on the arrow next to the Software Development project to expand it if it is not already expanded.

Click on an additional task to include in the approval.

Click on Approvers.

Click in the drop down for Approvers and select one.

Click Save.

Again, click on the Related Items section to expand that out and see the approvals for that task.

Most of the other item types in Project Insight have their approvals created and managed in a similar manner to tasks.

Routing Projects Requests for Approval

However, one item that has a different approval flow and is another common item in Project Insight that gets approvals is a Project Request.

Expand the left navigation.

In the Folders section, click Project Requests.

Hover on the Add icon and select Project Requests.

Project Requests allow you to capture the high level details about a project that your customers are requesting. You can record that data and manage and analyze that request to determine if it becomes an active project.

Project Requests are covered in detail in other training sessions, so you will just see the main details about it in this session.

Enter the name of the Project Request such as Purchase Financial Software.

That is really the only required field, although you should capture as much data as you require to make some decisions about the project request.

For now, click in the drop down for Type and select one.

Click in the drop down for Sponsor and select one.

Hover on the Save icon and click Save & Display Project Request.

This is the Project Request Detail form.

Right from this form, you can click on the option to Create Approval Request.

You can initiate an approval request for this rapidly.

From there, the standard Approval Request – Add form is displayed.

Click on Approvers.

Click in the drop down for Approvers and select one.

Click Save.

You can now see directly on the Request, the Approval that was created.

Click the Related Items section to expand it out and see more details about the Request.

Approving, Denying and Posting Comments on Approvals

To approve or deny approvals that have been assigned to you, click on My Insight to go back to your dashboard.

Click on the right arrow next to Projects to collapse that section.

Click on the right arrow next to Approval Requests to expand that section.

You can see all the items requiring your approval.

If you want, you can click on the approval name to start drilling down and seeing the approval details.

Or if you already have that information and you know what you want to do, click on the Approve/Deny text.

From here, you have the option of Approving it, Approved it but with Changes, skipping your part of the approval or Denying it.

You may also enter a comment.

If you are approving the item, then you do not have to enter a comment, it is optional.

However, if you are Denying it, you must enter a comment to explain the reason why.

You should also enter a comment if you select Approved with Changes, so the requestor knows what those changes are.

The Skipping option, lets you skip your part of the approval process. That means you are not approving or denying it, you are basically just declining to participate.

Again, it is recommended you enter a comment if you are doing this to explain to the requestor why.

Changing the Display Option on Approval Requests Assigned to You

You can see the request is still displayed on your active requests lists, even though you approved. That may be due to some display options settings.

Click the Display Options icon.

You have different options available such as Hide pending approvals once I complete my portion of the approval.

If there are multiple approvers for this item, it will remain in a pending status, even though you have approved your portion. Therefore it will still show on your list by default.

You can click on the option to not show those any longer and only show those approvals that still require an action from you.

There are also options to continue to Show open and closed, completed approval requests for certain number of days after the approval is complete and so on.

Or to show open, incomplete approvals regardless of the status that still require action from you.

Click X to close that form without making any changes.

Some of the items that are showing on your list may not have an action option, because there is no further action required from you.

Managing Approvals You Created

You have not only approvals assigned to you, but you also have approvals you want to manage and monitor.

Click on the right arrow next to Approval Requests I Requested to expand that section out.

You will see those additional approvals you just added. You can see their request date, the deadline date and the status.

You can click on the Display Options for that section to change the information that is showing.

For example, you could see approval request that you have not yet activated by clicking on Show open approval requests that have not been marked active.

Click Save.

Closing Approvals You Initiated

Even though you have a request that you initiated and it has been approved by all the approvers, that Request is still considered to be opened. It has been approved, but it is still open, because you, as the creator of the request, must close it.

That is what some of those Display Options were pertaining to. You can have approvals where your part of the work is done, but it is still pending action from others. Or you can have approvals where it has all been completely approved and no action is pending, but it is still considered open since the requestor has not reviewed and closed it yet.

Click on the Display Options

Click Show open, completed approval requests for 7 days after approval is complete.

This will show those requests that have all their approvals complete, but you have not yet closed it.

Click Save.

You can see there is a request that is approved.

But it is still showing because you, as the originator have not closed it.

To close it, click on the name of the request.

Click on the Open text, next to the State to toggle it to closed.

Now click the back icon.

It is no longer showing because it is closed.

However, you can still show it on this form, click on the Display Options

Click Show closed, completed approval requests for 7 days after approval is complete.

Click Save.

Now it shows again.

Reporting and Tracking Approvals

This is one way to report on approvals is via the approvals options on your dashboard, however, you can also run an approvals report.

Click the Reports icon.

Click on Approval.

Click Create Approval Request Report.

One reason that you may want to run an approval request report is to ensure that your approvals are getting closed out.

You may enter keywords to report on.

You can also select the state of the approvals, i.e. open or closed.

Let’s leave the default, Open checked.

You can click on the Date Filtering Options section to expand that out and enter date filters.

Click on it again to collapse it.

Click on the Approval Filtering Options section to expand that out.

Click on the drop down for approval status. You can choose to filter by Status.

Click on Approved.

This will now give you a list of approved requests that are still open.

For now though, let’s change this report instead to show us all the Pending approvals for everyone.

Click on Approved to remove it.

Click on Pending to select it.

Click on the white space anywhere on the form to exit out of there.

The other filtering options are self-explanatory.

Click on the Column Selection Options to expand that section out.

In the Available Columns, double click on Approvers to add that to your report.

Double click on the Approved Date to remove it, because you are looking at pending ones.

Click on the Run Report icon.

Click in the column headers to drag them wider or smaller.

So you can see all the approvals that are pending.

You can see who the approvers are.

You can click on one to see the details.

That is the summary of how to use approvals in Project Insight.


Online 9/17/2015
Updated on: