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UB Web Management

Transforming UB’s digital communications through process and tools

Workflow

Custom processes can be implemented for your site that will insure reviewers can oversee site modifications.

On this page:

Background

Workflow adds a built-in notification and authorization system onto your routine content production process. Pages can still be modified or activated without invoking a Workflow -- but once a Workflow is turned on, a specific series of steps are followed before that page can be published to your live website. Workflows are an optional feature that must be customized for your site in partnership with the DCT Help Team.

How To Set Up a Workflow

We will ask you to work with us to set up your first Workflow. Before you contact us, please consider how you normally produce your content in the UBCMS now, which people are involved (for authoring, review, and activation), and how a new or revised page would ideally flow through that chain of people (author completes changes -> page is reviewed -> page is published or goes back for more changes, etc.). All of this will inform the custom solution we build for your site.

Remember, Workflows only add capabilities; they do not disrupt any business practices that are already in place. No one’s ability to edit or activate pages will be changed. Also, Workflows are not mandatory -- they must be added intentionally to each page, and manually initiated by an author. So you can begin gradually experimenting while still following your standard editorial procedures.

When identifying the people who will be part of your Workflow, start with your core team. We will suggest you initially set up a trial period to become accustomed to the Workflow process and make any adjustments. Eventually, you can transition to Workflows as the primary way to move things along for some or all of your website.

Workflows rely on your existing permission groups. For example, anyone in your site's author group will be able to initiate a Workflow, although you may initially instruct those outside the core group to ignore them. For the core group, they will make changes to a page and then initiate the Workflow process. Notification that the page has been modified will then be passed to a group of reviewers, and if accepted, the page will be activated, or passed back to the original author for additional changes. 

Available Workflows

Based on our pilot studies, we have established two standard templates that should meet most site's needs.

Activation Template ("approve activate or reject")

This workflow provides editorial oversight over the production flow, by sending author page modifications through a simple approve-reject process. If the request is acceptable to the approver, the page is then activated.  If the changes are not acceptable, the approver can 'reject' the page, which is then returned to the original author for more work.

It is important to include comments in the appropriate areas of the process so it is clear what has been changed and why it may not yet be acceptable.

Workflow activation template.

Workflow activation template.

Deactivation Template ("deactivate or reject")

This workflow provides editorial oversight over the production flow, by sending requests by authors for page deactivatation through a simple approve-reject process. If the request is acceptable to the approver, the page is then deactivated.  

It is important to include comments in the appropriate areas of the process so it is clear why the page is being deactivated.

Workflow activation template.

Workflow activation template.

Once you have a good idea how you wish your workflow to be structured, start the process with the Request Workflow form.

How to Use a Workflow in UBCMS

Choose a Workflow in the sidekick and enter additional details.

Choose a Workflow in the sidekick and enter additional details.

Workflows are initiated at the page level. Site authors will see all Workflows that are available for their site, and will not see Workflows set up for other sites.

What follows is a generalized description of a Workflow, highlighting significant features.

Step 1.

Someone in the first group (e.g. your site authors) opens a page in Author and makes desired changes.

They then initiate a Workflow as follows:

  1. In the Sidekick, click the Workflow tab.
  2. Choose the desired workflow from the Workflow list. (Sites may have established more than one Workflow.)
  3. Expand the Additional Information section to add a Comment
    • Comments help authors keep track of the changes they have made.
    • Comments will explain the changes to the second group (e.g. content reviewers) so they know what to look for.
    • Comments appear in reports, so site managers can easily assess changes without scanning through emails.
  4. (Ignore Workflow Title.)
  5. Click Start Workflow to begin.
Access Workflow notifications from the Welcome page.

Workflow Inbox on Welcome page.

Step 2.

The Workflow adds a special annotation to the page, to warn authors that a Workflow now controls this page. That annotation will note the initiator's Name, the Workflow Name and the Date the Workflow was started

The Workflow also generates an email and places a message in the Inbox for the next group specified in the process (e.g. reviewers).

  • Workflow emails go to the accounts registered in UBCMS Author, usually your standard @buffalo.edu address.
  • Notifications can be found by clicking the Inbox link on the left side of the Welcome page.
  • The initiator's Comment is captured in the email and Workflow Inbox.

Step 3.

Recipients in the next group must now complete their part of the Workflow. (Workflows can have different steps depending how they are set up.)

  1. Review any changes described in the Inbox ('Comments').
  2. Open the associated page in the Websites admin console.
  3. If the changes are acceptable, in the page's Sidekick, use Workflow to invoke the next step...
    • For example, in the 'complete' dropdown, you might
      • Choose 'reject' or 'approve/accept'.
      • Add additional comments as appropriate.
    • Click OK.

Step 4.

Depending on the Workflow, there may be additional steps here...

Step 5.

The Workflow now progresses to the final step in the process.

  • If the changes were ultimately accepted, the page will be activated and the initiator will be notified that the changes have been published.
  • If the changes were rejected, notification will go to the initiator that additional work is needed, and the page will not be (re)activated.

The workflow will now end, and the annotation on the page is removed.

Running a Workflow on DAM Assets

  • DAM assets can be included within your normal workflow. There is no need for a separate workflow model unless you wish to apply a different logic to these assets.  
  • There is no way to apply an annotation to a DAM asset. There will be a little workflow icon in the status column of the asset in the asset list of its parent folder, but there will be no visible indicator when the DAM asset itself is viewed to indicate that there is a workflow actively running on it.
  • The workflow cannot be initiated from the actual DAM asset because there is no sidekick in the DAM interface. Your workflow must be completed from the Inbox.

Here is how to start a workflow on a DAM asset:

  1. In the asset list of a particular folder click once on the asset to select it.
  2. In the toolbar click the Workflow button.
  3. Choose the appropriate workflow model and optionally add a Comment and Title.  

A workflow icon should now appear in the status column of the asset list.

To complete DAM workflow steps when you have been assigned to complete a step:

  1. Review the DAM asset.
  2. Go to your Inbox.
  3. Select the workflow item you wish to complete. 
  4. Click the Complete button.
  5. Fill in the details of the dialog box and click OK.

After all steps of the running workflow have been completed, the little workflow icon should disappear from the status column of the asset list.

How to Roll Out Workflows in Your Organization

Start with your core team; be sure that your theory works in practice and you have full understanding.

Begin by slowly experimenting with a Workflow while you continue with your routine processes. Eventually, you can transition to a Workflow as the primary way to move things along, with what you have been doing traditionally as a backup.

We suggest during this trial period that you minimize who is using your Workflow and only gradually deploy it to your entire team.  

Create a roll out plan:

  • We suggest you roll out to small sections at a time to be sure this works for your users. It is best to start with the users that are easiest to work with and fast learners.
  • Be sure to have a range of technology comfort in this group, a “tech” will see this with a very different lens than 'Joe Average.'
  • When you are ready for full deployment, set up an orientation/training session for your organization to onboard new users.
  • Your 'early adopters' can help with the training of others.
  • Your unit should compile its own documentation about YOUR workflow to guide your unit’s understanding and train new people as they come on board.

Restrictions

  • There is no way to apply an annotation to a DAM asset. There will be a little workflow icon in the status column of the asset in the asset list of its parent folder, but there will be no visible indicator when the DAM asset itself is viewed to indicate that there is a workflow actively running on it.

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