Multi-Step Forms and Workflow

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Audience

Project creators, project managers, project schedulers, executive sponsors

Description

Every project manager knows, managing a project does not only consist of creating a work breakdown structure and checking off tasks as your team completes them. There are deliverables and forms templates that need to be filled out before, during and after every project. Some examples include a project charter, business case and other project initiation forms. During the project there might be UAT forms or other deliverables. After the project is finished, you might send a client survey or document lessons learned. Project Insight allows project teams to capture, document and report on all project assets using multi-step forms. This helps you manage all aspects of your project management life cycle.

Benefits

  • Learn how to create multi-step forms with workflow built in
  • Understand how to add and edit information in the forms
  • Learn how to run reports on all forms data

Key Points


Transcript

As every project manager knows, managing a project does not just consist of creating a work breakdown structure and checking off tasks as your team completes them. There are action items to track, issues to log, change orders to manage, budgets to track, reports to create, forecasts to do, approvals to get and the list goes on.

Project Insight was designed with out of the box functionality for you to manage all aspects of your project management life cycle, including all those processes that were just mentioned and more.

However, every organization is different and has unique processes and requirements that must be met. That is why Project Insight has functions for you to create your own custom items and forms. These forms are very intelligent. You can assign them to members of your team and they appear on their work list. You can report on them. You can initiate approvals, collaborate and attach documents.

Project Insight’s options for supporting different organization’s project management requirements do not end there. Project Insight also offers functionality to enable you to create Multi-Step Forms with Workflows built-in.

This is a very robust forms tool that you can use not only with your projects, but you can use it for other processes as well.

You could pay thousands of dollars for a forms tool that does just that, forms. With Project Insight, you have access to that functionality all at no extra cost and as a standard part of the software system.

Multi-Step Forms on Your Dashboard

What you are seeing here is a dashboard that has a multi-step form called User Acceptance Testing or UAT for short.

Several User Acceptance Testing forms have been assigned to you.

This might mean that you are responsible for doing some activity for each UAT form or that you are responsible for the overall management of the form.

Below that are Approval Requests. You can also be assigned responsibility to approve a multi-step form.

In this case, this Approval Request that is currently assigned to you is a User Acceptance Testing form called Change Password.

You can approve or deny it right from your dashboard and you can get more details on that in the Routing Items for Approvals and Electronic Signature training session.

A multi-step form can be assigned to you directly or you can be assigned to approve a phase of a multi-step form.

Initiating a Multi-Step Form

User Acceptance Testing is one example of why you may want to create a multi-step form with workflow. Another very common example is a Business Case.

You can see on the right side of your dashboard, you have some project requests that have been entered into the system and assigned to you. Project Insight has the ability for you to enter a request for a project so that you can track, manage and analyze that request.

As part of your responsibilities, you may have to create a business case as part of your project request process. The business case has several parts and each part is approved by different people in your organization.

Your first step is to initiate the business case by adding it.

Adding a Multi-Step Form

Click on a Project Request to go to the details.

Hover on the Add icon.

Select Business Case.

Your system administrator can configure Project Insight to determine where a multi-step form can be created. You can attach it to any type of item, such as projects, tasks, issues and so on. You can even create a separate folder to store multi-step forms.

Enter the name of the Business Case, such as New Financial Software.

You can also assign this Business Case to an active user in the system.

There is an administration setting that you can turn on to automatically have yourself assigned responsibility for this Business Case.

You can just leave that for now.

Hover on Save and click Save & Display Business Case.

The multi-step form is created and displayed.

Multi-Step Form Display and Navigation

The display of the multi-step form is divided into two parts, the navigation pane, which is the gray column and the main form details.

You can consider the navigation pane as your form table of contents.

You can click on a section to go to those details.

For example, click on General.

That takes you to general form details such as who is the requestor, the requesting department and the desired start date.

To return to the first page or the introductory part of the form, click on Business Case in the gray navigation bar.

You can see that for each form, you can have descriptive text entered.

The text for this multi-step form is instructional and says: For any new project requests, a business case must be filled out. There is an initial departmental approval required then once that is approved, there is a senior management team approval. Fill out part 1 for initial departmental approval, and then fill out part 2 for senior management approval.

You know from that descriptive text what to do.

You also have a quick navigation or table of contents section built right into the form main page.

When you set up the form you can optionally have this list displayed vertically or horizontally.

You can also click on there to get quickly to a section.

Most users, especially when initially filling out the form, will just click on the Next option as this is a very logical and intuitive way to navigate through the form.

You will also notice in the left navigation, there is the assigned to information. You can optionally turn this on or off as you will see later.

Data on a Multi-Step Form

On the General page, you need to fill out the Requestor, click in the drop down and select the user who requested the business case.

Click in the drop down for the Requesting Department and choose that.

Both the Requestor and Requesting Department are referencing the users list and the department list that are already set up in the software.

On multi-step forms, there are several types of fields that you can use to reference existing data already set up in the software. This reduces the amount of set up you have to do and also ensures consistency and integrity of your data by pulling information from the same place. You’ll see more about that in a moment.

There is also a date field, called the Desired Start Date.

This is another type of data element that you can put on your multi-step form.

Hover in the field to see the date format you should use and also some shortcuts for inserting the date, such as typing “T” for today’s date.

You can also click on the calendar and select a date from there.

You can see that there are red asterisks next to both the Requestor and Requesting Department labels.

This indicates there are required fields and they must be entered before you can save this business case.

The Desired Start Date is optional because there is no red asterisk in the label.

You can make any data element on your form required or not.

Click Next to go to the next step.

This is where you are going to enter the information about the Business Case that is important to the department managers. They will review this and then decide whether or not to approve this business case.

Again, this is an example of some other types of data you can have on your form such as a text area or a drop down list.

For the Description, type in – need financial software to support growth

For the Benefit type in – reduces data input

For the Strategic plan, click in the drop down.

This is a combo box, so you can start typing in letters and it will narrow down your choices.

Click on the option to select it.

You can also select multiple options, click on the drop down again and select another one.

Click on the white space anywhere on the form to exit.

You see you have various options, save the information, go to the previous section or go to the next section.

Required Permissions for Multi-Step Form

In order to "process" the workflow, that is fill in data in the steps you must have “Read” permissions and you must be either a workflow manager or you must be assigned to the workflow.

If you have "change" permissions above, then a project manager/project scheduler on a multi-step form associated with the project may add him/herself to the workflow if it is part of their project.

Saving a Multi-Step Form

This information is not yet saved in Project Insight. Be sure that you save it, if for some reason you are finished now and you want to navigate away from this form.

Remember, it is a multi-part form so it is possible that you are done at this point and will come back to it later. Again, just remember to click save first.

When and How to Edit Information

For now though, click Next to go to the next step.

This section shows the details that are important to your Senior Managers, such as, what the estimated return on investment is and how long it will take.

You probably will notice that you cannot actual enter any information here yet, there are just labels.

The reason for this is that you haven’t yet completed the previous step.

Click Previous.

You have to fill out this section of the form before you are able to do any work on the next section.

In addition, this step has to be approved before you can go to the next step.

This was set up this way to support your business process. Your management team does not want you to spend time filling out part 2 unless part 1 is first approved by the department managers.

Creating an Approval for a Step

Click on Create Approval to create an approval request for this business case.

The Name is filled in automatically and the business case is selected.

Click on Approvers.

Your Approvers have been predefined as part of the workflow in the multi-step form.

Click Save.

You can see that the Approval Request is set to Pending and you can’t mark this step as complete yet because it is not yet approved.

Also, you cannot do anything on the next step either.

Click Next.

Click Previous.

Since I was set as one of the approvers, I can click on the Pending text to go to the approval.

Click on Approvals to expand that section.

Click on the Approve/Deny text.

Click Approved.

For more information on the complete approval process, you can attend the training session called Routing Items for Approvals and Electronic Signature .

Workflow on the Form

Click the Back icon to return to the Business Case.

You can see that the Approval Request is set to ‘Approved’ and the step is also marked as complete automatically.

That is all part of the workflow that is set up for this form.

Click Next now.

You are now able to edit the data on Part 2.

You can also see that the Part 1 section in the table of contents or navigation section has a green check mark to visually indicate that Part 1 has been completed.

Assigning Different Steps to Different Users

What you can also do is re-assign this phase of the form to someone else.

To change the assignee for the form, you must be a workflow manager, have created the workflow or be the one currently assigned to the workflow. If it is associated with a project, and you are a project manager or project scheduler within the project, then you can also re-assign it.

To do that, click the Edit icon on this form.

Click in the Assigned to drop down.

Select someone else to assign the form to.

You can see that you can assign a multi-step form to more than one person. Each person associated will have it on their My Work List and Business Case List.

You can make someone else responsible for managing and filling out this part of the form.

You can just click on your name to remove yourself from the responsibility list if you want.

For now, just leave yourself assigned and click anywhere on the white space to exit out of that drop down.

These same permissions are also required to change the name or description of the multi-step form.

Other Data

On this form, you can see examples of some other types of data elements you can put on the multi-step forms.

The first is a table with calculations.

Enter $25,000 for the labor Estimates,

Enter $10,000 for the non-labor estimates.

The Total Cost is automatically calculated as there are formulas entered in the table to do that.

Enter a cost savings of $50,000.

The total return on investment is also calculated automatically. In this field add how long you think it will take. Enter 30 days.

This is an integer field.

Click in the drop down for other departments affected and select some. This is a lookup list to your pre-defined departments.

Finally, enter some deliverables using an HTML editor.

Once you enter that data, you will want to create your second stage of approvals which would be pre-defined as your senior management team.

Just click Complete for now.

This option is available for you to set on each step, whether or not an approval is required before it can be completed. In this case, approval is not required before the step can be marked as complete.

Click Save.

Now, Part 2 is also marked as complete.

Adding Multi-Step Forms on Your Dashboard

To display the multi-step forms on your Dashboard, click on My Insight.

Hover on the Dashboard Options icon, and hover on Workflows.

Click on My Business Case List.

You can see all the Business Case forms that are assigned to you.

The Status that shows is the part of the form has been completed.

Hover on the Dashboard Options icon, and click on Work List.

Multi-steps forms will also appear on your consolidated Work List.

Putting Multi-Step Forms on the Home Screen

Another common way to view multi-step forms assigned to you is from the Home Screen.

Hover on My Insight and click Home Screen.

A multi-step form does not appear here by default, you need to turn it on.

Click on Customization

Click on My Business Case List.

Click OK.

Those Business Cases assigned to you are now displayed.

Click on the Tile to see the details.

Closing a Multi-Step Form

On this list and also on your Business Case list on the dashboard, you are still seeing the New Financial Software business case even though all the steps have been completed and approved.

The reason for this is that the multi-step form is still open.

Multi-step forms that are open and assigned to you will appear on your list even if all the steps have been completed and approved.

In order to close the workflow, you must be a workflow manager, the person who created the workflow or a project manager or project scheduler on the project the workflow is affiliated to, or contained within.

Click on the name of the multi-step form.

Click on the Open text to toggle it to closed.

Click My Insight.

That closed Business Case is no longer listed.

Identifying Multi-Step Forms with Workflow Managers

As you worked through the multi-step form, you heard how information gets changed on the form. Generally, you must be assigned to it, have created it or are a workflow manager.

To see where that is set, expand the left navigation.

Click on Administration to expand it out.

Click on Users.

Click the Edit icon for your user.

Click the System Roles tab.

There is a Workflow Manager option in the Power User Roles.

If you check that on for a user, s/he will be able to edit, re-assign, process or open and close any multi-step form.

Click on the arrow next to Users to collapse that section again.

Multi-Step Form with Workflow versus Custom Item

Next, you are going to see next how to create a multi-step form with workflow.

Click on Customization to expand it out.

In Project Insight, a multi-step form with workflow is just referred to as a workflow to keep the terminology simple.

If you are familiar with the Custom Items function in Project Insight, you will find some of the same functionality is used there as is used in Workflows when you are setting up your form data elements.

However, the workflows function enables you to set up multi-step forms while Custom Items are just one-step form.

In addition, you can predefine approvals on each step in the workflow. For example, step 1 must be filled out and approved, then step 2 is filled out and approved and so on as you saw in the Business Case example.

You can create approvals on custom items as well, but it is just one approval for the entire form and it is not predefined. You initiate the approval when you require it.

To summarize, Workflow is basically your Custom Items with additional multi-step and pre-defined approvals functionality.

We do recommend that you watch the training videos called Creating Custom Fields and Using Custom Items and Forms.

Functionality in those sections is very similar to some of the things you are going to see when creating a work flow, so those videos would be useful as they contain more examples of the types of data you can put on forms.

Create a Multi-Step Form with Workflow

To create a Workflow, click on it.

Any existing workflows you have will be listed.

Click the Add Workflow option.

Workflow Definition

You must first define the high level details about the form.

Enter the name of the workflow. For example, maybe you are going to create a multi-step form for a customer survey. Type the name in.

The Navigation name is a shortened name use on some of the forms. Type in Survey. You will see later on where that appears and is used.

Then you may enter a description. Remember that description can be displayed on the very first page or the introductory page of the form. It can contain instructional text for the person who will be filling out the form. Type in Customer Survey to be distributed upon project completion.

As you see, icons are displayed for the different item in Project Insight. A default icon will be used for each Workflow, but you can create and upload your own if you wish.

Also, you may have Project Insight assign unique numbers to each Customer Survey that gets created. This is for references purposes. If you use this, you can refer to a survey by a number instead of just the name.

To turn on auto number, click in the drop down. There are three options, individual, global and folder. Individual is a unique sequence of numbers just assigned to this workflow. Global is a pool of numbers used by other item types as well, such as projects, issues etc. There will never be more than one item with the number “1”. Finally, folder is a unique sequence for a particular folder. The most common to use is individual so click on that.

You can also put a prefix in front of the number such as Sur for survey or UAT for User Acceptance Testing.

Leave that blank for now.

The next option is Enable Open/Close.

Remember you had to close a workflow that was assigned to you, even though it had been approved and completed. If you want that process, then turn this option on.

If you do not have this option turned on, then to remove a workflow from your list, you would need to edit it and remove your name from the assignees. That is the process with this turned off.

Show Steps Horizontally, determines how you display your table of contents or form steps on the first or introductory page. You saw that earlier.

On a multi-step form, you can have nested steps, such as Step 1, Step 1a, Step 1b and so on. The Show Child Step Max Depth: determine how many levels deep you want displayed in the table of contents on the front page.

Just leave it blank to display all steps.

The next three options toggle on or off the ability to enter comments, view status or add related items such as files or shortcuts to the workflow.

Click those all on for now.

Then you have the option to show who the workflow is currently assigned to in the left navigation, which you saw earlier.

And you may optionally populate it automatically with the creator of the workflow. Check that.

Finally, you can mark it active or not.

Click Save.

Your multi-step form is now created.

Setting up Steps or Sections on the Form

Click on the name to start adding steps and data elements.

Click the Add Step text, because the first thing you need to do is add the first Step and define the workflow and options.

Enter a name, such as Step 1 – General Information.

Enter a Description, such as Enter the general details that describe what you are approving.

Earlier, it was mentioned that you can have nested steps. If this was a nested step, such as step 1a, or Step 1b, then you would click in the Parent Step drop down and select the Parent step which would be Step 1.

However, since this is the very first step in the workflow, there cannot be a parent step for it, so leave it blank.

The order specifies the order that the steps will show in.

Then you have an option, Show Workflow Summary, which, if checked, will show the workflow name and assigned to information on the step summary page which is almost like a header and table of contents for that step.

If you have the ‘assigned to’ in the left navigation already, then you probably want to leave this unchecked.

The Show Workflow Details, if checked, shows main workflow details fields on the display for this workflow step.

Show Steps Horizontally, determines how you display your table of contents or form steps on the step summary page.

Show Child Step Max Depth again shows how many nested levels you want to display on the step summary page.

The rest of these are part of the workflow and you are going to see more about them in a moment, so skip down to the bottom where it says: Enable Child Steps.

You saw that in the business case when you could not edit Step 2 because Step 1 was not complete.

The Enable Child Steps option is where you specify whether or not child steps are allowed in this step, such as child step 1a.

It is important to note that you cannot have steps and data entry fields together. A step is like a summary page and below that step are the fields. If you check this option on, then you can add child summary steps to this one, but not data fields.

Leave it unchecked.

Leave active set and click Save.

Adding Questions to a Step

Next, you want to add the questions or data elements that you want filled out.

On the same line as the step, click on Add Question.

This is where you start to see the same forms used in setting up User Defined Fields and Custom Items.

It is where you define the data that you want filled out or the information that you are trying to collect.

You are not going to see this in detail because it is covered in the training sessions called Creating Custom Fields and Using Custom Items and Forms.

However, you will see a couple of examples here.

In the Field Name, type “Customer Name”, leave everything else as the defaults and click Save.

Add another question, click Add Question.

In the Field Name, type “Address.”

Click in the drop down for Input Control and select Text Area.

Hover on Save and click Save and Add Another field.

This is a shortcut for when you are adding multiple questions.

In the Field Name, type “Customer Rep.”

Click in the drop down for Input Control and click User Selector.

The first two fields you added were text type fields, but this one is a link to the users that are set up in Project Insight. For this multi-step form, you can select from the existing user list which saves you time and ensure consistency.

Click Save.

So those are the data fields you want entered in Step 1.

Setting Step Workflow Options and Approvals

Now you need to set up Step 2.

Click Add Step.

In the name, enter Step 2 – Survey.

In this step, you are going to set up some workflow. Basically, you can set up options to require approval on a step. This is very handy to predefine who must approve the step.

Enable Completion sets whether or not there is a completion checkbox on the step that must be either manually updated or it will be updated automatically to complete when approved.

Check that on.

Enable Approvals, turn on an approval process for this step.

Check that on.

If you are using completion and approvals, then you can turn on Requires Approval to have a condition that the step must be approved prior to being marked complete. If the step does not go through an approval process, then it cannot be completed.

Check that on.

The next few options control how approvals are handled and if you have used approvals elsewhere in the system, these will seem familiar.

If there is more than one approver, the Approval Sequential dictates whether or not the all approvers can approve at once, or it goes from one person who approves it, then to the next person who approves it and so on.

This is tied into the next option which is Approval Requires All Approved. If there are multiple approvers and everyone needs to approve it, check this option. If only one person needs to approve it, not all then leave it unchecked.

Approval Default Users is where you set the approvers, so you do not have to enter them each time.

Click in the drop down and select a few.

If you are using sequential approvals, make sure you select them in the sequential order you want them to apply although you can change this later.

The Approved Approval Marks Complete sets the option to mark automatically the step as being completed once the approvals are done. This ties into the Enable Completion option above.

Then you can lock a step after it is complete so no one can edit it.

You can also set a step so that it is only editable when a previous step is complete if you are using that and approved if you require approvals.

Click Save.

Now add your first question for that step.

Click on Add Question.

In the Field Name, type in Were you happy with the outcome?

Click in the drop down for Input Control and Radio button list.

In the List Values, click in the blue line and enter Yes in the name.

Click the blue plus sign.

Click in the blue line and enter No in the name.

Click the blue plus sign.

Click Save.

Of course, you could continue to add questions to this step and you normally would, but for now, let’s see how this multi-step form looks.

Expand the left navigation.

Click on Folders in the left navigation.

Click on Projects.

Click on one of the projects.

Hover on Views and select Status.

Hover on the Add icon and select Customer Survey.

Something the project manager would do as part of their tasks is to create the customer survey at the end of the project and assign it to the customer.

Enter the name: Survey for new product development.

Click in the drop down for Assigned to and select the customer.

Hover on Save and click Save and Display Customer Survey.

You have your left navigation with your steps and assignee.

This is your front page or main table of contents.

Click Next to go to Step 1.

Enter in the details.

Click Next.

That takes you to step 2, and it is on this step that you can create approvals as you saw earlier during the business case creation.

Also, down at the bottom of the form, you can see where you can enter comments.

See the status.

Add related items.

And see history.

So that is creating the forms.

Reporting on Multi-Step Forms

To run reports of multi-step forms, click on Reports.

Click on Workflow.

Locate the multi-step form you want to run the report on.

Click Create Customer Survey Report.

You then have a number of different display and filter options you can set, and you can get more information about those in the Creating and Running Portfolio & Project Reports training sessions.

Generating PDFs from a Multi-Step form

There are some other very cool things you can do with a multi-step form. You can generate a PDF from the data on the form complete with logos or graphics or headers and footers.

To see that, click on the UAT folder.

Click on a User Acceptance Test form.

Click View PDF.

Setting Visibility Rules and Scripting

You can set visibility rules on your forms, so that if a user selects one response a different set of questions will appear than if a different response it selected.

There are also other options for more advanced functionality and you can hire our professional services team to help you with that.

You can see the multi-step forms are very customizable and adaptable and can reduce paper forms or word or excel documents floating around your office.


Online 3/29/2016
Updated on: