I've made a workflow in Designer which I invoke trough code in Visual studio. The solution is working fine in my Development machine, but when I implement to the production I get an error:

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

Codesnippet for starting the workflow:

SPWorkflowAssociation wfAssoc = item.ParentList.WorkflowAssociations.GetAssociationByName(workflowname, System.Globalization.CultureInfo.CurrentCulture);
item.Web.Site.WorkflowManager.StartWorkflow(item, wfAssoc, wfAssoc.AssociationData, true);


  • Kashi, what do you have in wfAssoc.AssociationData.. Make sure it is not null or empty string... have a look here Oct 22, 2012 at 11:04
  • thanks for your reply, actually I came around this problem by starting the worlkflow, trough Sharepoint Designer start workflow when new Item created, and then I had Another Eventreciver in the code,Itemupdated, which also cancel the workflow on a item and start it again and then I'm able to start the workflow by code. My solution is a approval process which have to repeated until the item is approved. So it's seem the workflow from Sharepoint Designer is loaded after my code???
    – kashi
    Oct 23, 2012 at 7:35
  • Kashi, it seems like you are trying to achieve a While loop inside a workflow and here is an article for custom activity, you can use it with both MOSS 2007 and SharePoint 2010 Oct 23, 2012 at 7:50
  • Arslan, no I'm not using a while loop but It operates like a while loop. I have an eventreciver which checks if the item is updated and then it cancel all the worklflow associated with the item and restart the workflow. So this way I get a kind of while loop.
    – kashi
    Oct 24, 2012 at 8:39

2 Answers 2


The error means some of your variables are null.

You could add checks for item, since you call .Web on it and wfAssoc since you call .AssociationData on that.

My best guess is that wfAssoc is null.

  • thanks for your reply, it seems that the workflow is loaded after the code, in debugging mode an exeption is thrown but later when I uptade the page I see that workflow action have been done. But I came around this plz see me comment above
    – kashi
    Oct 23, 2012 at 7:42

After applying Service Pack 1 the workflows created in SharePoint designer that should launch under the credentials of the system account will no longer start automatically. (including when it is called from code which is running under elevated privileges).

Additionally, if you email-enable a document library and attach a workflow to it, and set the workflow to start on Item creation, this workflow will never start.

Check out below article, if this is something related to your issue.

Workflows do not start

Hope it helps!!

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