Design a Document review & approval workflow using eSubmissions- Part 1

Electronic Submissions Solution Accelerator enables the rapid delivery of managed and auditable review, commenting and approval solutions.

In this article (first in its series), I will explain how to design a multi-user and multi-stage review and approval workflow.

First Step
First Step in defining a review and approval workflow is to define a review template.

Review Template
A review template can be considered as a logical grouping of the review attributes and is identified with a user friendly name, for example, Floor Plan Review Template.

The review administrator will define multiple such review templates. These templates can be modified or deleted if needed.

Defining a Review Template
To create a review template, you can log in to eSubmissions’ review portal using your credentials. Review Portal is a one step portal for authoring, initiating and tracking review, commenting and approval (referred as RCA hereafter in this document) workflow.

Once you log in to review portal, navigate to Templates tab. It will show you all the existing templates. To define a new template, click on new. Clicking on new would start the following wizard that would guide you through creating a review template.

Template Definition

review-template1.JPG

Enter Template Name say “Demo Template” and description on the “Template Definition” screen and click next.

If you do not want this template to be used for initiating RCA processes. You can uncheck “Active” checkbox, this would keep the RCA template in kinda of draft state (upon saving). Or in other words, only active templates would be available while initiating a RCA process, So, to avoid your template appearing in the list of available templates under “Initiate Review” tab, you can uncheck the “Active” checkbox.

Leave other fields as it is, we will discuss these in later articles in the series.

Commenting
On the next screen in the wizard, define the comments visibility. For now, you can just click next and let the default value be taken. We will come back to this a little later.
review-template2.jpg

Stage Building
An Enterprise can define multiple stages of review for a kind of review. Each stage may involve one or many reviewers.

For example, a new business plan may require following reviews:

  1. Technical review – to assess the technical feasibility of the business plan
  2. Business review – to assess the business viability of the business plan
  3. Legal review – to assess if the business plan is legally sound in the jurisdiction where the business is supposed to take place

Each stage of review/approval is carried out in sequence. Each stage will have at-least one moderator. Within each stage, there can be one or many reviewers. Each stage may define the review/approval to be sequential or parallel.

review-template3.JPG

Select Stage type as “Parallel Review” from the type drop down.
Provide a name to the stage “Frist Review Stage”.
Click on “create” button. This will take you to next screen to define other stage attributes like duration, pre/post process, reminder configuration etc.

review-template4.JPG

Provide duration for the review, enter number of days. Reminder can be configured additionally if you want. Click on next to go to next step

You can leave pre-review process and post-review process as it is, we will discuss these more advanced options in coming articles in this series.

Next Step is to Add Reviewers

On this screen, you can search for users configured in your LiveCycle Server and add those users as reviewers or moderators. Please note that a stage require at least one moderator and one reviewer to initiate a review. So, you can choose not to select any moderator or reviewer at template creation level, but then you must select at least one moderator and one reviewer at the RCA initiation time. We will again discuss this, when we will talk about initiating a RCA process.

review-template5.JPG

while adding a reviewer, you can select whether the review is mandatory or optional. By default every reviewer is mandatory, you can choose to make some reviewer optional by selecting optional from the drop down.

A review stage is marked as complete only when all the mandatory reviewers have completed their review tasks. If a stage duration is expired, the stage is marked as expired and all tasks assigned to reviewers are pulled back from their queues. if any stage in a RCA process expires, the complete RCA process is marked as expired.

So, this means RCA process would proceed to next stage, when all the mandatory reviewers have completed their review task. If instead, you want RCA process to wait till the full duration of stage, irrespective of whether all the reviewers have completed, you can select “continue review for specified duration regardless of completion” on previous stage definition screen.

After adding the reviewers on this screen, you can click “Add New Stage” button to add another stage.

On the screen add, stage name as “Second Stage-Approval” and select type as “Parallel Approval” from the drop down. Adding an approval stage is almost similar to adding review stage, only some of the terminology changes. Click on create button to take you to the next screen.

review-template6.JPG

In case of approval , you can also define what type of signature is required. We will discuss use of signature in approval in coming articles, for now, we can leave it as “None” and proceed to next screen.

On the next screen you can add and select approvers and moderators for this stage. Please note that a stage require at least one moderator and one approver to initiate a RCA process. So, you can choose not to select any moderator or approver at template creation level, but then you must select at least one moderator and one approver at the RCA initiation time. We will again discuss this, when we will talk about initiating a RCA process. After adding approvers and moderators, you can click next to go to next step in defining template.

Supporting Documents
Supporting documents serves the purpose of reference documents for the main document in the RCA process. Supporting document can be a link also, to support cases, where may be an already existing link on intranet or internet is to be used as supporting document. Alternatively, supporting document can be uploaded from your local system as well.

Supporting documents can be supplied at the template creation level or at the RCA initiation level. Supporting documents, supplied at template creation level, are available to all the RCA processes which are initiated from that template. So, at template creation level, you might want to supply those supporting documents that applies to all RCA processes initiated from that template e.g. any compliance code specification document, any other protocol specification document etc.

review-template7.JPG

After adding supporting documents, click next to reach next step. This screen can be skipped as of now, we will discuss this in coming articles. To skip the screen click next and we reach the final screen.

Audit Levels
You can select any of the existing Audit Levels and click finish to save the template. You can also define your custom audit levels, but that is outside the scope of this article series.
review-template8.JPG

You can verify that newly created template appears on first screen under “Templates” tab in review portal. You can modify/view/delete the template from there.

Now, you have created a RCA template. The next step is to initiate a RCA process using this template. How to initiate a RCA Process will be covered in part 2 of this article.