What is a three-state workflow in SharePoint?

 Posted by ArticlesMaint on 9/25/2009 | Category: SharePoint Interview questions | Views: 26477

Three-state workflow helps organization to track workflows which has three states and two transitions. Its designed to track status of list item , task etc.
With each transition between states the work flow assigns the task to some person and sends a email alert about the task.

Figure: - Three state workflow

In order to better understand three-state we will create a simple task list. This task list will go through a review process.
Following is how the workflow will be executed:-

• Administrator creates the initiates the task. The task is assigned to the reviewer.
• The reviewer then reviews the task, makes his comments and makes the task in progress. Once he makes the task in progress it’s automatically assigned to the acceptor.
• Acceptor finally does the complete review and closes the task.

Figure: - Three state example

The first thing is to add two users in our computer domain one is the reviewer who will review and the other is the acceptor who will close the task initative.

To see the workflow go to Site actions ? Site settings ? Workflows. You will see the ‘Three-state’ workflow as shown in the below figure.

Let first create a team site so click on Site actions ? Site libraries and lists ? create a new content ? Sites and workspaces and give some nice name like ‘My team site’

Now click on ‘My team site’ , click on tasks and then click on list settings as shown in the below figure.

Once you click on ‘List setting’ you will see lot of options. Goto the permission and management section and click on ‘Workflow Settings’ as shown in the below figure.

You will prompted to create a new work flow. So create a new workflow and you will need to fill in details of the workflow as shown in the below figure.
Give a nice name to the work flow, for the current sample we have given the name as ‘My workflow’.
We have specified saying that create workflow as soon as the item is created.

A workflow will have three states an initial state, middle state and final state.
These states will be decided on the choice field of the task list. So when the status is having value ‘Not Started’ then the work flow is in the initial state.
When the status is with value ‘In progress’ then the workflow is in middle state. When the status is completed that means the work flow object
will be terminated and the workflow will be marked as closed.

Now the second step is to tell the three-state work flow what needs to be done on every work flow state.
So let’s fill what should happen when the work flow is initiated. When the work flow is initiated it will be allocated to the user ‘reviewer’.
You can see the values visually in the below figure.

When the reviewer reviews the document it’s assigned to an acceptor. So when the workflow is in the in progress state it’s assigned to the acceptor for final closure.

So now that you have attached the work flow with the list its time to invoke the workflow on the list.
Click on new to add a task to the task list. Below are the details of task which we need to enter.
What we have done is we have entered a wrong statement with spelling mistakes.

Now as soon as you click ok , you will see that the task is assigned to a reviewer.

Now login as reviewer and click on ‘What is your name’ ?

Now as reviewer you will correct the sentence and mark the task as ‘In progress’.

As soon as you mark the task as in progress it’s assigned to the acceptor. Now login as a acceptor and mark the task as complete.

Once done click on work flows and you should be able to see a complete tri-state flow.

You can see how the work flow was initiated , how the reviewer reviewed it and finally the acceptor closed it.

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