User Guide | 2019.2

Customizing workflows

A workflow guides users through a process and defines the path Helix ALM items follow through their lifecycle, from the time they are created until they are completed and closed. A workflow contains elements to represent the steps in a process, activities performed to move items from one step to another, and valid actions and results for each step.

As team members work on items, they indicate the work completed and move items to the next step in the workflow. All workflow information is tracked in items for historical purposes. The current state of an item in a workflow is displayed as the item status, so all team members understand where it is in your process.

Each item type has a workflow. You can use the default workflows out of the box, customize them, or create new workflows for your process.

Workflow elements

Workflows consist of states, events, and transitions. These elements work together to seamlessly move items through your process.

  • States indicate a step in the workflow. For example, Ready for Review, Verification Failed, or Implemented. States are either open or closed. An item's workflow state is displayed in the item Status field.
  • Events are actions that can be performed at each step, or state, in the workflow. For example, Assign, Estimate, or Fix. Events are added to items by users to move items from status to state and are tracked in the item workflow history. Events can also be added automatically by Helix ALM automation rules. See Moving Items Through the Workflow.
  • Transitions move items from one state to another. They define the valid events that users can add to items depending on the current state, the valid resulting states for each event, and the initial state for new items.

You can also configure assignment rules to specify how assigned items in specific states are handled.

Default workflows

When you create a new project, a default workflow is included for each item type. You can customize the default workflows for your process or create new workflows. See the following information about each default workflow.

Planning workflows

A carefully analyzed and customized workflow can prevent wasted time, redundancy, and disorganization. Before you customize your workflows, take the time to understand and document your team's business process and rules. This can help you easily determine the states, events, and transitions to use and correctly configure them.

When planning your workflows, consider the following questions:

  • What are the steps in your current process? Are there opportunities to improve the process? Are all of the current steps valid? Can any steps be eliminated? Are there any delays in the process that prevent team members from completing their work?
  • Who is responsible for performing activities to complete each step? Are activities performed by one or multiple team members? What dependencies exist between activities each team member performs? What information do they need to share with each other?
  • What information do team members need to perform a task assigned to them? What are the expected results when the activity is complete? What information is needed about the results and how should the information be tracked?
  • What are the relationships between each step and the activities you identified?
  • Who needs to be notified when changes occur during the process? What information should be communicated?

After you analyze the process, create a list of the states and events you need to add to your workflows, including the fields to include in event dialog boxes to capture information. Then, determine the events that can be added to items in each state.

Configuring workflows

When you complete workflow planning, you can customize the workflows in Helix ALM, which includes:

1. Configuring workflow states

2. Configuring workflow events

3. Configuring workflow transitions

4. Configuring workflow assignment rules

As you make changes to a workflow, evaluate it to check for any potential problems. See Evaluating workflows. Take the time to resolve any problems to make sure the workflow is configured correctly. See Resolving workflow problems. You can also view a diagram of a workflow for a graphical representation of the states, events, and transitions and how they are related. See Diagramming workflows.

Automating workflows

You may also want to enhance and automate your workflows using automation rules. You can configure:

  • Notifications to automatically email users and customers when workflow actions occur.
  • Triggers to perform actions when actions occur.
  • Escalation rules to perform actions based on a schedule.

See Automating Helix ALM.