I cannot seem to figure out how to get a workflow to work the way I think it should work, and need some help or some suggestions as to how I can go about creating a workflow. Effectively for a certain document there are several options to choose from, each of which will affect who's approval is required within the workflow. I gave up trying to ask the user for these options during the workflow process and storing them in a variable as it never worked, and I am running into some of the same type of stopping blocks if I instead use required fields when a user uploads a document. Here are the two logic blocks behind how I want the workflow setup:

IT Request (Yes/No)

If yes approval of CIO needed no matter the cost

Cost of request (<5000 , 5000 - 10000 , 10000 - 100000 , > 100000 )

In order, each option requires approvals of the previous options.

Manager, Facility Leader, CFO, CEO

I must be missing some piece of the puzzle on how Sharepoint wants these to occur but I am not sure how to construct these so it works. Below is a screenshot of what I have so far constructed with no luck. Here is what I have so far

If I move all of the approvals out of parallel and into serial even after approval it comes out as rejected:

enter image description here

The workflow screen:

enter image description here

  • Brian, are you getting any sort of error in the history log or is the issue simply that the approvals are not happening sequentially? If the latter then PirateEric's response below would be the best answer. Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 20:14
  • When I did it sequentially, the approval process would end up failing even if I approved a request. Additionally it seemed that if I tried to do it in a sequential manner I had to repeat all of the approvers for each outcome instead of allowing it to flow through a regular if then else like I am accustomed to but as I said maybe I am missing some piece here.
    – Brian
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 0:59
  • The fact that the approvals were failing might mean that your completion rule is broken or logically incorrect. Please use the link "Change the completion conditions for this task process" to check the Completion Conditions. They should look something like: If Task Process Results:Number of [approved button value] equals Task Process:Completed Task Count Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:54
  • I think it looks like it shoud? I just used the defaults created by SP Designer, I didn't delve into these specifics?
    – Brian
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


Looks like the issue is you are running things in parallel which is not making them dependant on the previous approval to execute. Removing that should force a sequential nature of CIO -> VP -> CFO -> President.

You'll also want to put in actions in between each approval to check the outcome of the previous approval. If it was denied, you obviously don't want to continue on and would exit the workflow. But that's moreso after you get the sequential issues squared away.

  • I added more screenshots to show what happens if I place the operations in serial mode. When I select Yes for an IT request, and cost > 100000 (which should go to all users for approval) if only does a subset of approvers and I am not sure why or what I am doing incorrectly here...
    – Brian
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:45
  • Your screenshot shows that there wasn't anyone specified as the participants for approvals 26 (CIO), 19 (CFO), and 27 (President) which would be why they didn't receive any task for this workflow. Try again and make sure that there are values specified in those places (possibly just use actual accounts in there for testing's sake) Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 17:41
  • Well you were correct, if I put myself in place of the other fields the entire workflow works correctly (at least with one test case), however then how do I go about making this dynamic? The CIO,CFO,and President don't change but the Facility VP is different per facility. I tried using a form field requiring a person and that clearly didn't have the desired effect, not sure where to go on this?
    – Brian
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 14:23
  • You could store them in a separate list and look them up, store them in variables, and use those variables in the Start Approval actions. Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 15:04

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