Process Management

Maximizing performance while minimizing human error is a requirement of organizations of all sizes. This need is covered by defined processes and workflows, for recurring tasks. Ensuring all required information is available in the right place, and contacts are informed about their responsibilities like adding information, approving requests, etc.

OTRS supports this requirement by Process Management. Process tickets help by using the required mandatory and optional fields (see Dynamic Fields) that information is not forgotten upon ticket creation or during later steps of the process. Process tickets are simple to handle for customer users and agents, so no intensive training is required.

Processes are designed completely and efficiently within the OTRS font end to fit the requirements of your organization.

Use this screen to manage processes in the system. The process management screen is available in the Process Management module of the Processes & Automation group.

Manage Processes

To create a new process:

  1. Click on the Create New Process button in the left sidebar.
  2. Fill in the required fields.
  3. Click on the Save button.
  4. Add activities, user task activity dialogs, sequence flows and sequence flow actions.
  5. Set State to Active.
  6. Deploy all processes.
Create New Process Screen

Create New Process Screen

To edit a process:

  1. Click on a process in the list of processes.
  2. Modify the fields and the process path.
  3. Click on the Save or Save and finish button.
  4. Deploy all processes.

To copy a process:

  1. Click on the copy icon in the fifth column of list of processes.
  2. Click on the newly created process to edit it.

To delete a process:

  1. Click on a process in the list of processes.
  2. Set the State option to Inactive.
  3. Click on the Save button. A new Delete Inactive Process button will appear in the left sidebar.
  4. Click on the Delete Inactive Process button.
  5. Click on the Delete button in the confirmation screen.
  6. Deploy all processes.

Warning

Processes are written into file in Perl format. Without deploying, all processes are still in this cache file even if they are deleted or the State option is set to Inactive or FadeAway. Don’t forget to deploy all processes after modifications!

To deploy all processes:

  1. Click on the Deploy All Processes button in the left sidebar.

Note

New or modified processes have to deploy in order to make affect the behavior of the system. Setting the State option to Active just indicates, which processes should be deployed.

To export a process:

  1. Click on the export icon in the fourth column of list of processes.
  2. Choose a location in your computer to save the Export_ProcessEntityID_xxx.yml file.

Note

The exported file contains only the process itself, and doesn’t contain the Queues, Agents and Dynamic Fields, etc. needed for the process.

To import a process:

  1. Click on the Browse… button of the Configuration Import widget in the left sidebar.
  2. Select a previously exported .yml file.
  3. Click on the Import process configuration button.
  4. Deploy all processes.

Note

Before import a process, it is still necessary to create all Queues, Agents and Dynamic Fields, as well as to set System Configuration, that are needed by each process before the import. If the process requires the use of Access Control Lists (ACL) those are also needed to be set manually.

Note

If several processes are added to the system, use the filter box to find a particular process by just typing the name to filter.

Example process

Processes are more complex than other resources in OTRS. To create a process, you need to do several steps. The following chapters shows you, how to define a process from the specification and create the needed resources. Let’s see an example to make it more demonstrative. We will define a book order process.

Process Specification

The book order process has four states.

Recording the demand

Before an order will be placed, the demand for literature by an employee will be recorded. The following book is needed in our example:

Title: Prozessmanagement für Dummies
Autor: Thilo Knuppertz
ISBN: 3527703713
Approval by manager
The head of the employee’s department needs to decide on the order. In case of a denial, a reason should be recorded by the manager. In case of approval, the order is passed to the purchasing department.
Processing by purchasing department
Purchasing now has the task to find out where the book can be ordered with the best conditions. If it is out of stock, this can be recorded in the order. In case of a successful order purchasing will record the supplier, the price and the delivery date.
Processing by the mail room
The shipment will arrive at the company. The incoming goods department checks the shipment and records the date of receipt. Now the employee will be informed that their order has arrived and is ready to be collected.

Introduce The Process Elements

If we assume that a ticket acts in this workflow like an accompanying document that can receive change notes, we already have a clear picture of process tickets.

From the analysis of the example process we can identify the following necessary items:

  • Possibility to record data, let’s call this user task activity dialog.
  • Check which can react to changed data automatically, let’s call this sequence flow.
  • Change which can be applied to a process ticket after successful transitions of a process ticket, let’s call this sequence flow action.
  • A possibility to offer more than just one user task activity dialog to be available. In our example this is needed when the manager must have the choice between Approve and Deny. Let’s call this activity.

Now, with activities, user task activity dialogs, sequence flows and sequence flow actions we have the necessary tools to model the individual steps of our example. What is still missing is an area where for each workflow the order of the steps can be specified. Let’s call this process.

Create necessary resources

Before the creation of the process and its parts is necessary to prepare the system. We need to define some Queues, Agents and Dynamic Fields as well as set some System Configuration settings.

Create the following Queues:

  • Management
  • Employees
  • Purchasing
  • Post office

Create the following Agents:

  • Manager
  • Employee

Create the following Dynamic Fields:

Object Type Name Label Possible values
Ticket Text Title Title  
Ticket Text Author Author  
Ticket Text ISBN ISBN  
Ticket Dropdown Status Status
  • Approval
  • Approval denied
  • Approved
  • Order denied
  • Order placed
  • Shipment received
Ticket Text Suplier Suplier  
Ticket Text Price Price  
Ticket Date DeliveryDate Delivery date  
Ticket Date DateOfReceipt Date of receipt  

Set the the following System Configuration settings:

Note

Don’t forget to deploy the modified system configuration settings.

Now, go back to the Process Management screen and click on the Create New Process. Fill in the required fields.

Book Ordering - Create New Process

Book Ordering - Create New Process

The new process is created. You can add some process element now.

Create User Task Activity Dialogs

Click on the User Task Activity Dialogs item in the Available Process Elements widget in the left sidebar. This action will expand the User Task Activity Dialogs options and will collapse all others doing an accordion like effect. Click on the Create New User Task Activity Dialog button.

Book Ordering - User Task Activity Dialogs

Book Ordering - User Task Activity Dialogs

In the opened popup screen fill in the Dialog Name as well as the Description (short) fields. For this example we will leave all other fields as the default.

Book Ordering - Add User Task Activity Dialog

Book Ordering - Add User Task Activity Dialog

To assign fields to the user task activity dialog simple drag the required field from the Available Fields pool and drop into the Assigned Fields pool. The order in the Assigned Fields pool is the order as the fields will have in the screen, to modify the order simply drag and drop the field within the pool to rearrange it in the correct place.

In this example we will use:

  • Article field for comments.
  • DynamicField_Title, DynamicField_Author, DynamicField_ISBN fields for the data to be collected for the order.
  • DynamicField_Status with the possibility to choose Approval.

Drag these fields from the Available Fields pool and drop into the Assigned Fields pool.

Note

In this screen all the dynamic fields has the prefix DynamicField_ as in DynamicField_Title. Do not confuse with the field Title that is the ticket title.

Book Ordering - Add User Task Activity Dialog Fields

Book Ordering - Add User Task Activity Dialog Fields

As soon as the fields are dropped into the Assigned Fields pool another popup screen is shown with some details about the field. We will leave the default options and only for Article fields we should make sure that the Communication Channel field is set to OTRS and that the Is visible for customer is not checked.

Book Ordering - Edit User Task Activity Dialog Fields

Book Ordering - Edit User Task Activity Dialog Fields

After all fields are filled in, click on the Save and finish button to save the changes and go back to the project management screen.

Create the following user task activity dialogs with fields:

  • Recording the demand (already created before)

    • Article field for comments.
    • DynamicField_Title, DynamicField_Author, DynamicField_ISBN fields for the data to be collected for the order.
    • DynamicField_Status with the possibility to choose Approval.
  • Approval denied

    • Article field for comments.
    • DynamicField_Status with the possibility to choose Approval denied.
  • Approved

    • DynamicField_Status with the possibility to choose Approved.
  • Order denied

    • Article field for comments.
    • DynamicField_Status with the possibility to choose Order denied.
  • Order placed

    • DynamicField_Supplier, DynamicField_Price, DynamicField_DeliveryDate fields for purchasing.
    • DynamicField_Status with the possibility to choose Order placed.
  • Shipment received

    • DynamicField_DateOfReceipt for the mail room.
    • DynamicField_Status with the possibility to choose Shipment received.

Create Sequence Flows

Click on the Sequence Flows item in the Available Process Elements widget in the left sidebar. This action will expand the Sequence Flows options and will collapse all others doing an accordion like effect. Click on the Create New Sequence Flow button.

Book Ordering - Sequence Flows

Book Ordering - Sequence Flows

In the opened popup screen fill in the Sequence Flow Name. For this example in the Condition Expressions we will use just one condition expression and just one field, for both we can leave the Type of Linking as and and we will use the filed match type value as String.

Book Ordering - Add Sequence Flow

Book Ordering - Add Sequence Flow

After all fields are filled in, click on the Save and finish button to save the changes and go back to the project management screen.

Create the following sequence flows:

  • Approval (already created before)

    Check if the DynamicField_Status is set to Approval.

  • Approval denied

    Check if the DynamicField_Status field is set to Approval denied.

  • Approved

    Check if the DynamicField_Status field is set to Approved.

  • Order denied

    Check if the DynamicField_Status field is set to Order denied.

  • Order placed

    Check if the DynamicField_Status field is set to Order placed.

  • Shipment received

    Check if the DynamicField_Status field is set to Shipment received.

Create Sequence Flow Actions

Click on the Sequence Flow Actions item in the Available Process Elements widget in the left sidebar. This action will expand the Sequence Flow Actions options and will collapse all others doing an accordion like effect. Click on the Create New Sequence Flow Action button.

Book Ordering - Sequence Flow Actions

Book Ordering - Sequence Flow Actions

In the opened popup screen fill in the Sequence Flow Action Name and the Sequence Flow Action module then click on the Save button. A new Configure button will appear next to the module field.

Book Ordering - Add Sequence Flow Action

Book Ordering - Add Sequence Flow Action

Click on the Configure button and add the needed configuration parameter keys and values.

Book Ordering - Sequence Flow Action Parameters

Book Ordering - Sequence Flow Action Parameters

After all fields are filled in, click on the Save and finish button to save the changes and go back to the project management screen.

See also

Each module has its own and different parameters. Please review the module documentation to learn all require and optional parameters.

All the sequence flow action modules are located in the legacy named Kernel/System/ProcessManagement/TransitionAction.

Create the following sequence flow actions:

  • Move the process ticket into the “Management” queue (already created before)

    This action is supposed to be executed when the sequence flow Approval applied.

  • Change ticket responsible to “Manager”

    To be executed when the sequence flow Approval applied.

  • Move process ticket into the “Employees” queue

    To be executed when:

    • The sequence flow Approval denied applied.
    • The sequence flow Order denied applied.
    • The sequence flow Shipment received applied.
  • Change ticket responsible to “Employee”

    To be executed when:

    • The sequence flow Approval denied applied.
    • The sequence flow Order denied applied.
    • The sequence flow Shipment received applied.
  • Move process ticket into the “Purchasing” queue

    To be executed when the sequence flow Approved applied.

  • Move process ticket into the “Post office” queue

    To be executed when the sequence flow Order placed applied.

  • Close ticket successfully

    To be executed when the sequence flow Shipment received applied.

  • Close ticket unsuccessfully

    To be executed when:

    • The sequence flow Approval denied applied.
    • The sequence flow Order denied applied.

There are places where the same sequence flow actions should be executed. Therefore it is reasonable to make it possible to link sequence flow actions freely with sequence flows to be able to reuse them.

Create Activities

Click on the Activities item in the Available Process Elements widget in the left sidebar. This action will expand the Activities options and will collapse all others doing an accordion like effect. Click on the Create New Activity button.

Book Ordering - Activities

Book Ordering - Activities

In the opened popup screen fill in the Activity name field and select User task activity from the Activity type dropdown.

Book Ordering - Add Activity

Book Ordering - Add Activity

To assign dialogs to the activity simple drag the required dialogs from the Available User Task Activity Dialogs pool and drop into the Assigned User Task Activity Dialogs pool. The order in the Assigned User Task Activity Dialogs pool is the order as the dialogs will be presented in the ticket zoom screen. To modify the order simply drag and drop the field within the pool to rearrange it in the correct place.

Note

This order is specially important in the first activity, since the first user task activity dialog for this activity is the only one that is presented when the process starts.

In this example we need to assign only the Recording the demand user task activity dialog. Drag this dialog from the Available User Task Activity Dialogs pool and drop into the Assigned User Task Activity Dialogs pool.

Book Ordering - Assign User Task Activity Dialog

Book Ordering - Assign User Task Activity Dialog

After all fields are filled in, click on the Save and finish button to save the changes and go back to the project management screen.

Create the following activities:

  • Recording the demand (already created before)

    Assign the user task activity dialog Recording the demand.

  • Approval

    Assign the user task activity dialogs Approval denied and Approved.

  • Order

    Assign the user task activity dialogs Order denied and Order placed.

  • Incoming

    Assign the user task activity dialog Shipment received.

  • Process complete

    This is an activity without possible user task activity dialogs. It will be set after Approval denied, Order denied or Shipment received and represents the end of the process.

Now we can clearly see that activities are precisely defined states of a process ticket. After a successful sequence flow a process ticket moves from one activity to another.

Create Process Path

Let us conclude our example with the last missing piece in the puzzle, the process as the a flow describer. In our case this is the whole ordering workflow. Other processes could be office supply ordering or completely different processes.

The process has a starting point which consists of the start activity and the start user task activity dialog. For any new book order, the first user task activity dialog of the first activity is the first screen that is displayed. If this is completed and saved, the process ticket will be created and can follow the configured workflow.

The process also contains the directions for how the process ticket can move through the process. Let’s call this process path. It consists of the start activity, one or more sequence flows (possibly with sequence flow actions) and other activities.

Assuming that the activities has already assigned their user task activity dialogs, drag an activity from the accordion in the Available Process Elements widget in the left sidebar and drop it into the canvas area below the process information. Notice that an arrow from the process start (white circle) to the activity is placed automatically. This is the first activity and its first user task activity dialog is the first screen that will be shown when the process starts.

Book Ordering - First Activity On Canvas

Book Ordering - First Activity On Canvas

Next, drag another activity into the canvas too. Now we will have two activities in the canvas. The first one is connected to the start point and the second has no connections. You can hover the mouse over each activity to reveal their own activity dialogs.

Book Ordering - Second Activity On Canvas

Book Ordering - Second Activity On Canvas

Then let’s create the process path (connection) between this two activities. For this we will use the sequence flows. Click on sequence flow in the accordion, drag a sequence flow and drop it inside the first activity. As soon as the sequence flow is dropped the end point of the sequence flow arrow will be placed next to the process start point. Drag the sequence flow arrow end point and drop it inside the other activity to create the connection between the activities.

Book Ordering - First Sequence Flow On Canvas

Book Ordering - First Sequence Flow On Canvas

Now that the process path between the actions is defined, then we need to assign the sequence flow actions to the sequence flow. Double click the sequence flow label in the canvas to open a new popup window.

Book Ordering - Assign First Sequence Flow Action

Book Ordering - Assign First Sequence Flow Action

After the sequence flow actions are assigned, click on the Save button to go back to the main process edit screen. Click on Save button below the canvas to save all other changes.

Complete the process path adding the following activities, sequence flows and sequence flow actions:

  • Recording the demand (already created before)

    Possible sequence flow: Approval

    Starting activity: Recording the demand

    Next activity: Approval

    If the condition of this activity is fulfilled, the ticket will move to activity Approval.

    Additionally, the following sequence flow actions are executed:

    • Move the process ticket into the “Management” queue
    • Change ticket responsible to “Manager”

    The activity Recording the demand is a defined step of the process ticket, where there is the possibility for the sequence flow Approval. If this applies, the ticket will move to the next activity Approval, and the sequence flow actions Move the process ticket into the “Management” queue and Change ticket responsible to “Manager” are executed. In the activity Approval, the user task activity dialogs Approval denied and Approved are available.

  • Approval

    Possible sequence flow: Approval denied

    Starting activity: Approval

    Next activity: Process complete

    If this matches, the process ticket will move to activity Process complete.

    Additionally, the following sequence flow actions are executed:

    • Move process ticket into the “Employees” queue
    • Change ticket responsible to “Employee”
    • Close ticket unsuccessfully

    Possible sequence flow: Approved

    Starting activity: Approval

    Next activity: Order

    If this matches, the process ticket will move to activity Order.

    Additionally, the following sequence flow actions are executed:

    • Move process ticket into the “Purchasing” queue

    We can see that from the current activity, which defines a step of the process ticket, there are one or more possibilities for sequence flow which have exactly one target activity (and possibly one or more sequence flow actions).

  • Order

    Possible sequence flow: Order denied

    Starting activity: Order

    Next activity: Process complete

    If this matches, the process ticket will move to activity Process complete.

    Additionally, the following sequence flow actions are executed:

    • Move process ticket into the “Employees” queue
    • Set ticket responsible to “Employee”
    • Close ticket unsuccessfully

    Possible sequence flow: Order placed

    Starting activity: Order

    Next activity: Incoming

    If this matches, the process ticket will move to activity Incoming.

    Additionally, the following sequence flow actions are executed:

    • Move process ticket into the “Post office” queue
  • Incoming

    Possible sequence flow: Shipment received

    Starting activity: Incoming

    Next activity: Process complete

    If this matches, the process ticket will move to activity Process complete.

    Additionally, the following sequence flow actions are executed:

    • Move process ticket into the “Employees” queue
    • Set ticket responsible to “Employee”
    • Close ticket successfully

The complete process path for the book ordering process will then look like this:

Book Ordering - Process Complete

Book Ordering - Process Complete

After you finish the process path, click on Save and finish button below the canvas to go back to the process management screen.

Click on the Deploy All Processes button in the left sidebar. This will gather all processes information form the database and create a cache file (in Perl language). This cache file is actually the processes configuration that the system will use to create or use process tickets.

Note

Any change that is made of the process will require to re-deploy the process in order to get the change reflected in the system.