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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Enable Oracle Project Status Change Workflow

In Oracle Projects, you can use the Project Status Change Workflow to automatically route project status changes for approval. The Project Status Workflow needs to be enabled for the project status and the project type. When a project status changes, the seeded PA Project Workflow sends an approval notification to the requesting employee’s HR supervisor who will receive a notification (or an email if WF Mailer is enabled) to change the project status. You can customize the PA Project Workflow according to your business requirements. For more details, see the Oracle Projects Implementation Guide (Oracle OTN login required).

Below is a sample workflow of project status changes. A Project Accountant creates a project and manually sets the project status to Submitted. The workflow process is initiated. A Project Accounting Manager (Project Accountant’s HR supervisor) receives an email requesting his/her approval of a new project. If the manager approves and the workflow process is successful, the project status is changed to Approved.

Similarly, when a project needs to be closed, the Project Accountant will manually change the status from Approved to Pending Close. A second workflow process sends an email to the PA Manager, verifies that the manager approved the project closure, and changes the status to Closed.

Project Changes Example

Following are the required configuration steps to enable the Project Status changes by Workflow:

Enable Project Types for Workflow Project Status Changes

As Project Billing Superuser, navigate to Setup > Projects > Project Types. Define your project type, or update an existing one. Select the ‘Use Workflow for Project Status Changes’ flag to initiate Workflow for all workflow-eligible project statuses in projects with this project type.

Sample Project Type

Project Statuses for Workflow Status Changes

As Project Billing Superuser, navigate to Setup > System > Statuses. In our example above, we would need to enable following statuses for workflow: Submitted and Pending Close. The value for Item Type is always ‘PA Project Workflow’ for Process is ‘Project’. Using the Success Status and Failure Status is how you control the next status based on the approver’s action.

Enable Project Statuses for Workflow Status Changes

Few comments in closing. Using the Project Status Change Workflow is great if you create and approve a lot of projects, or project creation is de-centralized. It enforces consistent rules and keeps an audit trail of changes. Having an automatic emails and notifications sent out by the system brings transparency to the process.

Some of the features we did not like included users’ inability to รข€withdraw” a project status change. Once you choose a project type that is enabled for workflow, the process is triggered and you cannot “roll it back”. Also, and this applies to any Oracle Workflow notification, if there is anything wrong with your setup, for instance an employee does not have a HR supervisor, or user account is not associated with an employee, or user name changes were not synchronized in the Workflow tables, the approval notifications are routed to SYSADMIN without any acknowledgement to you.

The workflow messages can be little misleading. After a successful status change, the message always says “Project Approved”, even though the status change was to close the project. It would be more meaningful to say: “…project status was successfully changed to ‘actual status name’…”

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