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We have a custom list used to create items for tracking a process (Procedures). Another custom list (steps) has items detailing the things to be done in each phase. So the first item in the Steps list might have a title of "Request Received" and a Description that says "Please do some tasks that cannot be automated, like have a meeting."

The items in the Procedures list has a field called "Current Step"; which is a lookup to the title of the Step list. The workflow in the Procedures list changes "Current Step" to the next value after the item is marked complete. Very often this process works flawlessly. However, sometimes something goes wrong and we receive the error:

"The workflow could not update the item, possibly because one or more columns for the item require a different type of information".

There is no indication in SharePoint logs what the problem might be. If we restart the workflow on the exact item that failed it sometimes passes the process without receiving the error again, sometimes it continues to get the error. Has anyone else experienced this? This is SharePoint 2010 Server.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

We added a 1 minute pause before this task and have not experienced the issue since. I have no explanation for this other than that there must have been times when the lookup and change was being done in conjunction with a lock on the item. I have no other explanation.

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Does it matter at which point you place the pause? Do you place it at the very beginning of the workflow or just before your lookup? – wheeler Sep 28 '15 at 9:34

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