Datapolis workbox how to cut workload and minimize risks


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How to cut workload and minimize risks when deploying workflow in SharePoint environment

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Datapolis workbox how to cut workload and minimize risks

  1. 1. How to cut workload and minimize riskswhen deploying workflow in SharePoint environment Tomasz Głogosz Human–Centric Workflows
  2. 2. About me• Certified Project Manager (PMP) and Developer (MCTS)• 5 years of experience with SharePoint (2007, 2010)• 4 years of experience with SharePoint workflows• Project manager and main architect for Datapolis Workbox – workflow product for SharePoint• Managed, consulted and developed projects for mid to large workflow implementations Human–Centric Workflows
  3. 3. I’d like to convince you that• SharePoint is a great platform for workflows• Many problems can be avoided during planning• Usability for business is the main factor of project success Human–Centric Workflows
  4. 4. Topics• Workflows in SharePoint• Workflow tools• Main challenges• Tackling the challenges Human–Centric Workflows
  5. 5. Workflows in SharePoint• Used to: • Ensure process compliance • Automate tasks • Streamline processes • Track processes• Based on Windows Workflow Foundation• Run on the front-ends in IIS process• The load is automatically transferred to SharePoint Timer• Workflow data is stored in database Human–Centric Workflows
  6. 6. Workflow tools Human–Centric Workflows
  7. 7. Microsoft SharePoint OOB WorkflowsWorkflow tools• Ready to use• Tested and tuned• Very limited• Simple scenarios• No modifications Human–Centric Workflows
  8. 8. Microsoft SharePoint DesignerWorkflow tools• Free• Integrated with Visio and InfoPath• Allows automation of common tasks• Can modify OOB Workflows• Only current site data and activities• Limited activities and data modifications• No loops• Hard to manage larger flows Human–Centric Workflows
  9. 9. Microsoft Visual StudioWorkflow tools• „Anything is possible”• Can use data from entire SharePoint and LOB apps• Full control over the process• Requires developers• Requires licenses• Long development cycle Human–Centric Workflows
  10. 10. 3rd party toolsWorkflow tools Human–Centric Workflows
  11. 11. 3rd party toolsWorkflow tools• Graphical process definition• Multiple activities• Highly customizable• Can use data from other sites/site collections• Connects to LOB• Requires licenses• Can have unexpected limitations• Requires fine tuning in enterprise deployments Human–Centric Workflows
  12. 12. Decision factorsOptimal Functionality Development costs Support License costs Human–Centric Workflows
  13. 13. Decision factorsReal life License costs Functionality Development costs Support Human–Centric Workflows
  14. 14. Optimal tool Optimal tool does not exist Human–Centric Workflows
  15. 15. Optimal tool• In 80% of cases 3rd party tools • One-time investment in licenses • Shorter deployment time than SPD and VS • Much more powerful than OOB and SPD • Ready to use interfaces • Easier process modification and tuning than OOB, SPD and VS • Easier to share with business• Other 20% • Simple processes (if not already owned) – OOB and SPD are cheaper • Extremely efficient and highly customized workflows – VS gives more control Human–Centric Workflows
  16. 16. Main challenges Human–Centric Workflows
  17. 17. Functionality and UXMain challenges• SharePoint OOB interface and behavior• Forms• Workflow tool limitations• Process maturity Human–Centric Workflows
  18. 18. PermissionsMain challenges• Access to SharePoint data• Access to workflow information• Decisions in workflow Human–Centric Workflows
  19. 19. Data structureMain challenges• Relationships• External data Human–Centric Workflows
  20. 20. PerformanceMain challenges• Number of starting workflows• Number of concurrent workflows• Number of items Human–Centric Workflows
  21. 21. Tackling the challenges Human–Centric Workflows
  22. 22. General adviceTackling the challenges• Standard software development rules apply!• Work with the business • Model the process with business • Find and take care of power users on the business side • Share the process as often as possible• Expect and prepare for change• Always think about performance• Optimize the process after every change• Don’t forget about the testing and deployment phase Human–Centric Workflows
  23. 23. Functionality and UXTackling the challenges• Do not assume that standard SharePoint UX is enough• Think about: • Workflow start • Decisions in workflow • Showing users their items of interest (tasks, filtered views)• Forms • Double check if advanced forms are required • Choose the right tool (SPD, Infopath, 3rd party, custom) • Know the limitations Human–Centric Workflows
  24. 24. Functionality and UXTackling the challenges• Workflow tools • Know your tools and their limits • Don’t use workflows for everything • Test your workarounds – performance and influence on the process • Think about coding custom activities/functions• Process maturity • Get an analyst • Understand the process • Help the users understand the process • Try not to adjust the process to the tool Human–Centric Workflows
  25. 25. PermissionsTackling the challenges• Get the requirements first• Plan for security – embed it in the architecture• Know SharePoint limitations : • Per item permissions (!) • Column permissions • Permissions to launch and terminate workflow • Permissions to tasks and decision interface • Workflow context• Remember about substitutions and admin• Use AD and groups Human–Centric Workflows
  26. 26. Data structureTackling the challenges• Try to define all the objects as soon as possible• Know SharePoint limitations: • Relationships • User interface • Related fields • Performance• Plan for external data • External lists – know the limits • Be careful with synchronization • Limit the number of queries Human–Centric Workflows
  27. 27. PerformanceTacking the challenges• Know the expected load • Items – main objects, related objects and versioning policy • Users – how many, what load • Processes• Know the recommended limits (Technet, MSDN)• Plan, Test, Optimize• Remember - workflow uses lot of resources• Optimize your farm • Front-ends, database, timer location • Pool recycling, timer recycling Human–Centric Workflows
  28. 28. PerformanceTackling the challenges• Workflows • Change management - analyze and remodel or rewrite your workflows • Look out for: • Queries • Loops • Cascading workflows• Archive • Items • History Human–Centric Workflows
  29. 29. Summary• Workflows in SharePoint are great tools• SharePoint has its limitations• Well planned solution and good communication with business – nearly 100% guarantee of success Human–Centric Workflows
  30. 30. Questions? Tomasz Głogosz Project Manager and Main Architect www.datapolis.comDownload free Datapolis Workbox trial: online demo site: Human–Centric Workflows