Thursday, July 23, 2015

A day in the life of your Workflow Inbox - Understanding the Work item status...

The following diagram depicts the flow that a workflow item can take. Steps 1, 2, 3a and 3b are the statuses attributed to the most common path a work item takes. They are described in detail below.

  • STEP 1: Status = Ready – Ready to be processed by the next applicable agent. Anyone who has this item in their inbox can still execute or reserve this item. Double clicking a work item in this status moves the status to “Started” -> STEP 2
  • STEP 2: Status = Started – Busy working with the work item. The agent is still actively in the order summary screen.
  • STEP 3a: Status = Committed – Work item is returned to the agent’s inbox. The work item needs to be flagged as done or re-executed to complete it and move it to STEP 3b. A work item is only flagged Committed when the agent clicks the “Cancel” option once they have completed the work item. They would do this if they wish to return to the work item to finish something up or add attachments to the workflow.
  • STEP 3b: Status = Completed – Work item is completed. No further action is possible with this workflow. A work item is only flagged completed when the agent clicks the “Complete Work Item” option once they have completed the work item. Note: Workflow configuration allows to switch off this "Complete Work Item" feature, in which case the work item is completed as soon as the agent exits out of the execution of the work item to the workflow inbox.

Other applicable workflow statuses

The following list of statuses show some pretty cool functionality. Check them out:

  • STEP 1b1: Status =  Selected - Click “Reserve” to reserve the work item: Reserved – This item has not yet been started but has been reserved exclusively for that agent. It does not exist in anyone else’s inbox. Particularly useful when a team of folks are responsible for working work items. When you see a work item that you need to work, simply reserve it and the rest of the team will no longer see that work item as an option.
  • STEP 1b2: Status = Ready - Once an item is reserved it may be “replaced” by clicking the Replace  button. The work item moves from "reserved" status back to "Ready" status and all the original agents of the work item will now have access to work that work item again. A user may no longer wish to work this item and would thus need to place it back in the pool for the original agents (team) to work.
  • STEP 1c1:  Status = Waiting – If the user wishes to work the item at a future date they can resubmit  the work item for that date. The work item will disappear from the users inbox and magically reappear on the date stated during resubmission. It can always be found in the resubmission folder of the agents workflow inbox.
  • Status = Cancelled - If the work item is worked outside of workflow that results in the completion of the task in the agent’s inbox then the work item is flagged as cancelled and will no longer appear in the agent's inbox.

End of day checklist

All users that should have worked their items over the day should have their work items in one of the following statuses:
  • COMPLETED    = Work item is complete
  • WAITING           = Work item has been scheduled to be performed at a future date
  • CANCELLED    = The desired work was resolved outside of the workflow process and it resulted in completing the work required with the work item, thus the work item was automatically cancelled by the workflow system
Any work item in one of the above statuses can traditionally be interpreted as a "good thing". The user has done the job and basically taken care of the work item. The items that are "Cancelled" need to be reviewed" "Why aren't you using workflow to correct the issue?" Using workflow allows you to report on the effectiveness and the efficiency of the teams utilizing workflow to manage their exceptions.

If the status is in one of the following then the following is assumed:
  • READY             = The work item has not yet been worked
  • STARTED          = The agent is currently working with this work item
  • COMMITTED   = The agent worked this work item but has yet to flag it as completed. They may still need to do further work on it to complete it. The work item may no longer be pending but without completing the work item the next team in the process will not be notified.
  • SELECTED       = The agent reserved the work item to work themselves but have yet to start working on it
Any work item still in one of the above 4 status, at the end of the work day, can be traditionally seen as a "bad thing".  Why did you not start the work item? Why didn't you look at it? If you weren't going to work it today then resubmit it to a date when you would work it. Why did you reserve it and then not complete it? If you need more time then resubmit it. Remember that you can always work your items in the resubmission folder of the workflow inbox as shown below.
Hopefully this article proves useful. Leave comments below if you have thoughts on the matter.