Office 12 Workflow

This post is being written as it happens at the Office System conference

Workflow was essentially un-usable in WSS v2, for most real world business scenarios, so this session is key to positioning the role of Office System 12.

This is the process they are trying to support:

  • Create
  • Edit/review
  • Ready to publish, sign off and approve
  • Publish
  • Archive

Key points

  • Workflow is at the item  level,  it works for any list items, for example it could be used for a change request, a risk, a purchase order, a document review
  • Items have a workflow view, which lists competed and active workflows for the item
  • Infopath forms are used for workflow forms,  web rendered for the browser or native InfoPath for office 12 client
  • Workflow actions are sent via email, and are also available from the Tasks view in the SharePoint web UI
  • when you open a document that has a workflow associated to it,  it displays the “business bar” in Office client.  If you click Edit Task from the business bar in say Word then you can approve, reject etc, directly from Office.
  • A status page is available for each active workflow
  • Reports are available to provide workflow metrics,  for example reports to analyse duration, errors, conditional branches etc
  • Workflows automatically appear on task lists,  for example a team could use a common task list for all activities including workflows that are associated with the team

Four roles

  • The participants in the workflow
  • The initiator of the workflow
  • The observer, who is tracking status and performance
  • The process owner who is designing workflows.  Sometimes a developer might be needed to translate the process owners requirement into SharePoint

Lists are all over workflow:

  • List items that have workflows associated with them
  • Lists of workflow tasks
  • History lists that store information about previous workflows
  • Custom lists that contain items generated by workflows, for example a calendar entry

Email is key:

  • When workflow tasks are assigned or changed
  • When workflows start or end
  • If errors occur


  • Web reports
  • Access reports that allow you to Join together multiple SharePoint lists to create more complex reports

Custom stuff:

  • More complex workflows can be created using FrontPage and Visual Studio

Admin and management:

  • Old tasks can be cleaned up
  • Instrumentation data is captured
  • Tracking active workflows
  • Reporting of metrics for completed workflows


Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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