How to Create Custom Workflows For Different Types of Change Requests From Portal

How to Create Custom Workflows For Different Types of Change Requests From Portal

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SCSM 2010 has a very simplified (too simple?) portal interface for users to submit change requests.  SCSM 2012 will dramatically improve on this by introducing a service catalog.  More details on that and a demo can be found in the SCSM 2012 session that Sean Christensen and I presented at TechEd US 2011.  See the 2012 presentation and other presentations from TechEd here.

In the meantime until 2012 comes out though, if you want to have custom workflows for different types of change requests you can still do it to a certain degree using SCSM 2010 and custom workflows.  Here is how to do it!

First of all, you need to know that when the user creates a change request from the portal he can choose a Category:

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This list is customizable by going to the Library/Lists view in the main console, selecting the Change Area (not Change Category – I know, it’s confusing!) and clicking Properties:

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So – basically we are going to have the user’s request have a different process backing it depending on which Change Area/Category is selected.

The change request is initially created from the portal using the Standard Change Request template that is provided out of the box.  The first thing that we need to do is remove all of the activities from that template.  To do that go to the Library/Templates view in the main console and select the Standard Change Request template and click Properties in the task pane.  Leave the ‘When I click OK, open the template form’ checkbox checked and click OK.  This will bring up the change request form in template mode for the Standard Change Request template.  Click the Activities tab:

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You can see that out of the box the Standard Change Request template has two activities – a review activity and a manual activity.  Since we want to define a different process (set of activities) for each type of change request we are going to remove these defaults by selecting each activity and clicking Delete.

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Now click OK, to save these changes to the Standard Change Request template.

Now – if you want to you can test creating a change request from the portal.  You will see that the CR is created but this time there are no activities:

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Now what we are going to do is define a change request template for each of the Category values that need a unique process defined for them.  We can reuse templates for multiple categories.  I’ll show you how to do that later. 

For now, go to the Library/Templates view and click Create Template in the task pane.

Then give the template a name, choose a management pack, and select the Change Request class and click OK.

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When the change request form comes up click the Activities tab.  Just for purposes of demonstrating this I’ll just add two review activities and two manual activities like this. 

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You can have any combination of activities that you want including automated activities if you have created those.  You can also set other properties on the change request as needed.  Now click OK to save the change request template.

Now we are going to create a change request event workflow that will be triggered whenever a new change request is created from the portal and the area is equal to Restore File. 

To do this go to the Administration/Workflow/Configuration view.  Select the ‘Change Request Event Workflow Configuration’ item in the list and click ‘Configure Workflow Rules’ in the tasks pane.

Click Add…

In the wizard, click Next on the welcome page.

Give the workflow rule a name, description (optional), select a management pack, and leave the default of ‘When a new object of class Change Request is created’.

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Click Next.

Set the criteria:

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You can click Add here multiple times to add an OR criteria so that the same template can be applied to multiple change areas using the same workflow.

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Click Next.

Choose the template we created earlier:

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Click Next.

Optionally choose to send notification:

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Click Next.

Click Create.

Click Close.

Click OK.

Now try submitting a change request from the portal and select the Restore File option in the form:

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When the change request is first created it doesn’t have any activities:

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Within a few seconds though the template will be applied by the workflow and the first activity will go into an In Progress state:

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Cool!  SCSM 2012 will be much more flexible, but this does give you a good start and although you might want to redo things when SCSM 2012 comes out to take advantage of some things you won’t necessarily need to.

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  • Hi Travis,

      Thank for your guide. I am a begginer of Service Manager and I have a question about change request. You said "You can have any combination of activities that you want including automated activities if you have created those." in the post, so how should I create activities and add them to change request template? Thank you.

  • @Blunt -

    Are you referring to automated activities in particular or review/manual activities, or both?

  • I mean if I want to create custom activities besides those two default cativities, what should I do?

  • @Blunt - please see this blog post as an example of creating a custom activity work item:

    blogs.technet.com/.../how-to-automate-vm-provisioning-in-20-minutes-using-service-manager-and-opalis.aspx