SwimlanesLast Updated: 07/15/2016 Introduced in Verision: 3.2
A Swimlane (or swimlane diagram) is a visual element used in process flow diagrams, or flowcharts that visually distinguishes job sharing and responsibilities for sub-processes of a business process. Swimlanes was introduced in Decision 3.2 version. The swim lane flowchart differs from other flowcharts in that processes and decisions are grouped visually by placing them in lanes. Parallel lines divide the chart into lanes, with one lane for each person, group or subprocess. Lanes are labelled to show how the chart is organized. This tutorial demonstrates how to use Swimlane component in the Flow Designer.
In this example we are going to create a simple Approval process workflow. This Approval process has 5 participants: Customer who submits an order, Sales Representative who reviews and enters the order, Contract Agent who needs to approve or cancel the order, Attorney who needs to approve or reject the order on Contract Agent’s request, and a shipment procedure. Swimlane components are useful in this workflow to separate visually the steps for each participant.
We begin in the Designer Folder with clicking Create Flow on the Folder Actions Panel.
Then, we Name our Approval process and click Create to proceed to the Flow Designer.
In the Flow Designer we begin with adding and defining Swimlane components first. Locate Swimlane component in the Flow Management category in the ToolBox and drag it to the workspace.
With this Swimlane component selected on the workspace we Rename it so it indicates process Participant Name (Customer). Mention, that all steps under this Swimlane will be colored in the Swimlane color (by default).
Then, we add another Swimlane component to our workspace. The second participant of our approval process is Sales Representative. Mention, that this participant will probably have some Forms that should be Assigned to the corresponding Group or Users. We are going to configure a default assignment for the Swimlane. In other words, any Assigned Form in this Swimlane will be Assigned according to the Swimlane configurations by default. We locate Swimlane Assignment section and change Assignment Type to Group.
Next, with the Group picker we select Sales Representatives group.
Then, in the similar manner we add Contracts Swimlane and Assign it to the Contract Agents Group.
After Contracts we add Legal Swimlane and Assign it to Attorneys Group.
Finally, we add Fulfillment Swimlane and do not create a default Assignment for this participant. We can configure Swimlane’s width and color.
After we defined all Swimlanes we can start building our approval process…
First, we add Show Form step from the Favorite Steps category and position this step under Customer Swimlane (this is going to be a Form where Customer will be able to submit an order).
In the resulting window we Name the Form and click Create to proceed.
This Form is designed as following. When finished, we can save the Form and close Form Designer.
Mention, that our Form Step is automatically colored with the Swimlane color. If we drag this step under different Swimlane, it will change the color.
Next, we add another Show Form step from the Favorite Steps category next to the First Form in our Flow. We position this Form Step under Sales Swimlane.
Then, we Name the Form and click Create…
This Form is designed as on the following figure. Sales Rep should Review the Order and provide some Comments for further participants of the process. When Form design is completed, we can Save and close Form Designer.
Back in the Flow Designer we change the Assignment Type for the Sales Rep Form that we just created from InSession to Assigned. Note: there is no need to add the Assignee to this Form because it is getting assigned to the Swimlane’s default Assignees (Sales Representatives Group). Mention, that if we move this Form under different Swimlane, it will inherit that Swimlane’s default Assignment.
Next, we add another Show Form step and position it under Contracts Swimlane…
Name the Form and click Create…
This Form is designed for Contract Agents to decide if the Order falls into Standard Terms or not. Save and close Form Designer when finished.
Again, back in the Flow Designer we change the Assignment type for this Form to Assigned and it is automatically becomes assigned to Contract Agents Group (as designed in the Swimlane configurations).
Next, if the Order falls into ‘Standard Contract Terms’, we are going to implement Approved order logic. For the simplicity of this example we are going to Send Notification and Ship the Order. Drag Send Notification step from the Communication category and position it under Contracts Swimlane. Then, connect Yes outcome from the Contract Agents Form to this Notification Step.
We select Order Approved Notification step on the workspace, define Constant Subject, select Text Merge.Plain Mapping type for the Message and click Show Editor. Also, we can define desirable Users or Groups to Notify (Note, that Swimlane’s default Assignees will not be default Users or Groups to Notify).
In the Text Merge Editor we compose Message for the Notification using Customer’s First and Last Name variables. Click Ok to save and close Editor.
After the Order Approval logic is implemented for the Contract Agent, we can implement Order Shipping logic in the Fulfillment Swimlane. In this example we simply add another Send Notification step from the Communication category and position it under Fulfillment Swimlane. Then, connect Done outcome from the Order Approved Notification to this Pick Order Log Shipment Notification.
We configure Pick Order Log Shipment Notification step as following… Set Constant Subject, and use Text Merge.Plain Mapping type for Message. Click Show Editor.
In the Text Merge Editor we compose Message for the Notification and click Ok to save and continue.
Next, we move End Step on the workspace under the Fulfillment Swimlane, and rename it to ‘Order is Shipped’. Connect Done outcome from the Pick Order Log Shipment Notification step to the End Step.
Then, we add Agent Requests Approval Form and position it under the Legal Swimlane. Connect ‘No’ outcome from the Contract Agent Review Form step to this Form. In the Form configurations we change Assignment Type from InSession to Assigned to make this Form automatically assigned to Attorneys Group. Note: this Form is added using Show Form step from the Favorite Steps category.
Agent Requests Approval Form is designed as on the following figure. Attorney is able to review the Order and either Approve or Reject Order. If Attorney Rejects Order, he or she should provide Rejection Comments.
Next, on the workspace we connect Approve outcome from the Agent Requests Approval Form back to the Order Approved Notification. Then, we add Agent Cancels Order Notification (Send Notification step from the Communication category) under Contracts Swimlane. Connect Reject outcome from Agent Requests Approval Form to Agent Cancels Order Notification step.
We configure Agent Cancels Order Notification with Constant Subject and Text Merge.Plain Mapping type for the Message field. Click Show Editor to compose Message.
In the Merge Text Editor our Message looks as following. Click Ok to save and continue.
Finally, we are going to notify Sales Representative that the Order was canceled. Add Send Notification step from the Communication category and position it under the Sales Swimlane.
Configure this Send Notification step with Constant Subject and Text Merge.Plain Mapping type for the Message. Click Show Editor.
In the Merge Text Editor compose Message and click Ok.
Then, we add End Step from the Flow Management category, Name it and position it under the Contracts Swimlane. Connect Done outcome from the Sales Rep Notification step to this End Step. This completes our Approval Process Flow. As we can see, Swimlanes help Designer or Flow Editor visually identify which Steps in this process belong to the particular Participants of the process.
To test our Flow we click Debug Flow on the top panel of the Flow Designer.
Note that in Decisions version 3.5 and above, you’ll need to click Test Flow to access the Debugger.
Customer Form opens in the Debugger… We fill it in and Submit.
As we designed, Order is getting Assigned to the Sales Representatives.
Sales Representative reviews the Order, adds Comments and Submits the Order.
Next, Order is getting Assigned to the Contract Agents. Contract Agent decides that this Order does not fall into Standard Terms and needs to be approved by Attorney. We click ‘No’ on the Form.
The Order is getting assigned to the Attorneys Group.
We review the Order and Reject it with Comments.
Contract Agents and Sales Representatives are Notified that Order is canceled and Not Shipped. Debugger Diagram indicates that our Flow was executed with no issues.