Parent page: Processes & Workflows
An integral part of the Altium Designer collaborative design environment is the support for Workflows, that guide a company's designers through typical, everyday design processes such as:
- Requesting new Workspace library parts
- Performing design reviews
- Creation of new Workspace projects.
Each Workflow that is used to implement a particular design process is created as part of a Process Definition. Processes, and their Workflows, are created and managed through the Enterprise Server Workspace's browser interface – by an Administrator of that Workspace. For more information, see Creating & Managing Processes.
A designer can access and initiate any of the processes that have been activated for use at the administrative level. Interaction with a process – or rather its defined workflow – is through Tasks. A Task relates to a user task defined within the workflow – a point at which action by a user is necessary for the workflow to progress.
Accessing Tasks through the Browser Interface
Tasks can be browsed from the Tasks page of the Workspace browser interface. This page lists all of the tasks currently outstanding for the signed-in user, and which require action (for example a task related to a project reviewing activity, or a part request). Each task is a specific stage reached within an associated process workflow.
Accessing the Tasks area of the Workspace's browser interface, from where you can see instantly what tasks require your attention.
Working with Tasks
The left-hand side of the page presents active (outstanding) tasks for the signed-in user, or tasks that have not yet been assigned, but for which they are a candidate (e.g., are part of a role that has been specified for the assignee). For a standard (non-admin) user, the list of tasks is automatically filtered so that only tasks requiring their attention, or which they can claim as a candidate, are listed.
Example listing of outstanding tasks for user Keith.
For an administrative user, a filter control is available at the top of the listing of tasks on the Tasks page of the browser interface. Use this to quickly switch between viewing all your tasks (My tasks) and all tasks across all users (All tasks).
As an administrative user, you have the ability to switch between viewing just your tasks, or tasks for all users.
Each task is listed in terms of the following:
- Timeframe – the point at which the task was encountered in the underlying process workflow.
- Task Name – the instructional name given to the user task element in the process's underlying workflow.
- Title – the title of the task, which is the name of the associated activity (process instance); e.g. Milestone Review #1.
- Username – the username of the Workspace user that is responsible for performing the task. If the task has not yet been assigned, this entry will appear as .
Click on a task entry to have its associated form presented on the Form tab, on the right-hand side of the page. The form presents all information and fields that have been defined for that specific user task – by an administrator when crafting the process workflow – in order to obtain choices, information, or data from the user, which will facilitate the onward progress of that workflow.
Example form for a user task associated with a design review process (Milestone Review). Hover the mouse over the image to see an example form for a part request process (New Part Request – Assign).
To view the underlying workflow for the task's parent process activity, make the Diagram tab active. The diagram not only shows the complete workflow for the process, but also the point that has been reached in that flow – the user task which you are currently addressing, reflected by the inclusion of your name.
Accessing the workflow diagram for the default Milestone Review process, highlighting the user task requiring action, and by whom. Hover the mouse over the image to see the workflow diagram for the default New Part Request Assign process. In both cases, user Keith needs to address these tasks in order for the workflow to proceed to its next event.
Interact with the form as necessary to complete your task. This could mean choosing an option, making a comment, or attaching additional files/data. What needs to happen is typically specified within the form, and any data you require to perform your task – for example conducting a design review – is usually provided with the form, or as a link. Provided the form for a user task has been crafted intuitively by an administrator at the time the process (and its workflow) were defined, you will be able to efficiently complete each and every task assigned to you, with no ambiguity, and no need to query what needs to be done – unless of course a user has requested a new Workspace library part for example, and has not provided enough information for you to act upon, in which case you can complete your task by choosing that more information is required!
Once you have filled in the form for your task as required, click the button. The task will be deemed complete and will be removed from your list of tasks. If the next task in the flow is also assigned to you, the associated form will be presented automatically.
Viewing Tasks for a Specific Project
Any user can view all currently active (or closed) processes for a specific Workspace project – provided that project has been shared with them. From the Projects page of the Workspace browser interface, click on a project's name or use the Open option for the selected project to access the detailed view of the project. Make the Activities tab active to see a listing of all Active activities associated with the project. From here, you can see at-a-glance what tasks are outstanding across those activities, and which user(s) are assigned to perform those tasks.
Example activity for a specific Workspace project, from where can be seen the currently outstanding task and who is responsible for it.
Viewing Tasks for Part Requests
Any user can view all currently active (or closed) processes relating to part request(s). From the Part Requests page of the Workspace browser interface, you can see at-a-glance which tasks are outstanding across those requests, and which user(s) are assigned to perform those tasks.
Example part requests, from where can be seen for each, the currently outstanding task and who is responsible for it.
Accessing Tasks through Altium Designer
When a user is connected to the Workspace through the Altium Designer, their current list of tasks will be available through the Tasklist panel. Clicking on a task's entry will access a dialog containing the form associated with that task.
Example form for a user task associated with a design review process (Milestone Review), when accessed from the Tasklist panel in Altium Designer.
To view the underlying workflow for the task's parent process, make the Diagram tab active. The diagram shows the complete workflow for the process, and the point that has been reached in that flow – the user task which you are currently addressing, reflected by the inclusion of your name.
Accessing the workflow diagram for a design review process (Milestone Review), highlighting the user task requiring action, and by whom.
Use the form to fulfill the task and click the button, so that the process can flow to the next relevant stage. The task will be deemed complete and will be removed from the panel. If the next task in the flow is also assigned to you, the associated form will be presented automatically.
Depending on how a process workflow has been configured, those assigned to work on the resulting task may see their entry shown with a icon, which indicates an unassigned task. In this case, the user can claim the task to work on using the button.
Who is able to claim the activity task is indicated by the Candidates entry shown at the top of the form. As shown in the Part Request task example below, the candidates are
Librarians, of which the signed in user (
Keith) is a member. For a Part Request task, the candidates field is determined by the Assignee specified in the process workflow itself – this can be set by an administrator to Roles or individual users, or a combination of both.
An example of the candidates that can take on a task – as determined by the role(s) specified for the workflow form Assignee.
Users that are candidates for the task (here,
Librarians) will see the task as unassigned when the workflow form's Task Ownership field is set to
One of assigned users. When alternatively set to
All assigned users, the task remains available to all assignees and cannot exclusively be claimed by one user.
If the Except field has been used on the underlying form, then the user(s) who are not permitted to work on the task will also be shown as Exceptions in the task Candidates list. In the image below, the Assignee has been set to
Engineers, so all members of those roles will see the task as potential candidates to claim it. However, an exception has been specified that the Initiator not be allowed to work on the task ($ Initiator). In this case, the process Initiator –
Bruce – while a member of the
Engineers group, cannot claim the task (and will not see it in their own list of tasks).
An example of the candidates that can take on a task – as determined by the role(s) specified for the Assignee.
For the signed-in user within the Altium Designer, such tasks appear as entries in the Tasks region of the Tasklist panel with the icon. When you click such a task, the subsequent form provides a button – click this to take on the task, without having to go to the browser interface to claim it.
An example of a user seeing an unassigned task, for which they are a candidate, and subsequently assigning that task to themselves.