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Best Practices: Workflow and Forms                   DevelopmentApril 5, 2012David GwynVP, Research & Development and Coll...
Agenda• Workflow   • Overview   • Initial Approach   • Design• Forms   • Design   • Creation• Information Architecture• Wo...
Workflow OverviewWorkflows consist of two elements:• Forms that a workflow uses to interact with its   users• Logic that d...
Initial Workflow Approach• If not carefully managed, the “simple workflow”  project can become as complex as a custom-  de...
Workflow Design• Bridge the language of the business with the  language of the developers  • The method for depicting busi...
Workflow Design (continued)Two views of the same problem…                                 6
Workflow Design (continued)• Do not rush to build – invest the time to walk  through the workflow before building the solu...
Form Design• The tendency exists to include every conceivable  option within a form• Paper forms have different requiremen...
Form CreationUse InfoPath (instead of Visual Studio)• InfoPath does a good job in browser-only  deployment (no desktop too...
Form Creation (continued)• An InfoPath form is actually just an XML file,  allowing for easy access to its information  th...
Form Creation (continued)InfoPath Forms can be…• Standalone in a forms library –    very useful, and often the best    way...
Information ArchitectureEstablish a comprehensive information architecture• Define enterprise content types and meta data ...
Information Architecture (continued)• The structure, navigation, and contents of the  underlying SharePoint site is paramo...
Information Architecture (continued)• While not required, managing SharePoint Content  Types and Site Columns (“record typ...
Workflow Authoring ToolsSharePoint• Native SharePoint 2010 workflow enhanced to include integration  with Visio for graphi...
SharePoint Designer• Free download to enable information to  SharePoint sites• Focused on less  technical  information  wo...
Visual Studio• Workflow Designer runs inside Visual Studio 2010  Professional Edition and provides a graphical  environmen...
Workflow – K2  K2 blackpoint is a  subset of broader  product capability                       18
Workflow - Nintex                    Nintex graphical                    workflow editor is                    designed fo...
Workflow – Nintex (Continued)                                              Nintex provides many                           ...
Forms Authoring ToolsInfoPath 2010 integrates withSharePoint 2010 and InfoPathForm Services 2010 to deliverrobust business...
Workflow ExamplesRecommended platform for deploymentUse Case                        Native SharePoint   Third Party       ...
Summary• Do NOT rush to build• Obtain sign-off on workflow design prior to build  • If your user community is unable to ap...
Thank you    www.highpoint-solutions.com                                  24
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GR8 SharePoint Conference - Best Practices: Workflows and Forms Development

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GR8 SharePoint Conference - Best Practices: Workflows and Forms Development

  1. 1. Best Practices: Workflow and Forms DevelopmentApril 5, 2012David GwynVP, Research & Development and CollaborationJonathan MatchoSolution Architect 1
  2. 2. Agenda• Workflow • Overview • Initial Approach • Design• Forms • Design • Creation• Information Architecture• Workflow Authoring Tools• Form Authoring Tools• Summary 2
  3. 3. Workflow OverviewWorkflows consist of two elements:• Forms that a workflow uses to interact with its users• Logic that defines the workflow’s behaviorWorkflows in SharePoint 2010:• Reduce dependency on human interaction• Provide repeatable processes beyond static paper- based standard operating procedures• Allow scaling of activities across multiple personnel• Integrate process automation in other line of business applications 3
  4. 4. Initial Workflow Approach• If not carefully managed, the “simple workflow” project can become as complex as a custom- developed application• Approach a new toolset and newly minted development team with caution: • Significant benefits can be achieved by segmenting a large program into multiple releases as both business and development team learn about workflow 4
  5. 5. Workflow Design• Bridge the language of the business with the language of the developers • The method for depicting business processes can be vastly different from the workflow techniques used to deliver the process • Select method for capturing the processes and flow • Traditional classic workflow diagram (Visio Stencil) • Cross-functional swim lane diagrams • UML Activity Diagrams • UML Sequence Diagrams 5
  6. 6. Workflow Design (continued)Two views of the same problem… 6
  7. 7. Workflow Design (continued)• Do not rush to build – invest the time to walk through the workflow before building the solution and get sign-off (blueprints vs. spec. homes) • Utilize tools such as Balsamiq Mock-ups to illustrate the user interaction with the system 7
  8. 8. Form Design• The tendency exists to include every conceivable option within a form• Paper forms have different requirements than electronic forms• A User Experience person might suggest improvements, but…• Verify form design is possible (practical) with the assigned development team The phrase “Don’t confuse Sales with Delivery” doesn’t apply here. 8
  9. 9. Form CreationUse InfoPath (instead of Visual Studio)• InfoPath does a good job in browser-only deployment (no desktop tools required) and integrates nicely with SharePoint• InfoPath allows the creation of forms without requiring Visual Studio expertise (which is time consuming and expensive)• InfoPath provides for a declarative rule-based environment for controlling the user interface 9
  10. 10. Form Creation (continued)• An InfoPath form is actually just an XML file, allowing for easy access to its information throughout workflow processing. Visual rendering is handled through a separate “xsn” file, built using InfoPath Designer. 10
  11. 11. Form Creation (continued)InfoPath Forms can be…• Standalone in a forms library – very useful, and often the best way to begin this journey• Attached to the start of a workflow, allowing collection of data to drive the workflow• Used to replace out-of-the-box SharePoint list forms• Used to replace out-of-the-box workflow task forms 11
  12. 12. Information ArchitectureEstablish a comprehensive information architecture• Define enterprise content types and meta data and publish across sites• Create Enterprise Managed Metadata (EMM)
  13. 13. Information Architecture (continued)• The structure, navigation, and contents of the underlying SharePoint site is paramount • It is critical to manage the data structures as you would with any other database initiative • Changing these structures after development begins will require increased time to deliver• Understand the way SharePoint manages its data. While somewhat analogous to a database, it is notably different (with content types and site columns) 13
  14. 14. Information Architecture (continued)• While not required, managing SharePoint Content Types and Site Columns (“record types”) allow for reusability and provide for a common set of form components.  For example, imagine dealing with a system with unique Program, Project, and Task lists, each having different names for “start date” (ex. StartDate, Start Date, ProjectStartDate, etc.)  Define a common data dictionary to promote reuse across forms and sites 14
  15. 15. Workflow Authoring ToolsSharePoint• Native SharePoint 2010 workflow enhanced to include integration with Visio for graphical workflow creation and status reporting• Basic review and approval capabilities are included but advanced functionality requires programming skillsK2• Extensive Business Process Management suite that includes a component for SharePoint• SharePoint workflow solutions can be extended to support enterprise process management needsNintex• SharePoint-only solution for complex workflow management• Integrates with InfoPath to support review and approval of forms 15
  16. 16. SharePoint Designer• Free download to enable information to SharePoint sites• Focused on less technical information workers to develop logic 16
  17. 17. Visual Studio• Workflow Designer runs inside Visual Studio 2010 Professional Edition and provides a graphical environment for organizing activities into workflows• Developer-centric platform 17
  18. 18. Workflow – K2 K2 blackpoint is a subset of broader product capability 18
  19. 19. Workflow - Nintex Nintex graphical workflow editor is designed for trained end-users to develop complex review and approval workflows. 19
  20. 20. Workflow – Nintex (Continued) Nintex provides many integration tools, such as Active Directory, Exchange, CRM, and external systems connectivity. Nintex provides the LazyApproval® System, which allows a user to respond to requests in real language, even when mobile and without SharePoint portal access 20
  21. 21. Forms Authoring ToolsInfoPath 2010 integrates withSharePoint 2010 and InfoPathForm Services 2010 to deliverrobust business solutions Nintex Forms 2010 is a web- based forms designer that allows forms to be consumed on most mobile devices. 21
  22. 22. Workflow ExamplesRecommended platform for deploymentUse Case Native SharePoint Third Party  Document Approval Leave of Absence Approval andTracking Help Desk Tickets  Recruiting Content Publishing New Employee Onboarding 22
  23. 23. Summary• Do NOT rush to build• Obtain sign-off on workflow design prior to build • If your user community is unable to approve designs, keep refining illustrations• Keep your initial workflows and forms as simple as possible and use a phased approach • Avoid the concern that if the solution isn’t perfect no one will use it• If SharePoint will be the platform for workflow- based solutions, strongly consider a third-party tool 23
  24. 24. Thank you www.highpoint-solutions.com 24

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