Changes to workflow
An overview of the changes to workflow.
James Peacock avatar
Written by James Peacock
Updated over a week ago

The management of content, from draft to published, is unpredictable. In GatherContent we allow content to move backwards and forwards through a workflow to represent the realistic lifecycle content goes through. Our latest update aims to simplify the process of moving content through your workflows by making improvements to the UX that more closely resemble this non-linear nature.

Why now?

For years workflow in GatherContent was strictly linear - you could only move an item to the adjacent workflow step. We then changed this behaviour, allowing you to mark any workflow step as complete, and conversely, any workflow step as incomplete. It was a step forward (forgive the pun) but left behind some awkward behaviour that we're now fixing as part of another exciting update to workflow - workflow assignees.

The problem

To select a workflow step, you have to mark the previous workflow step as complete. This isn't always the case.

In the example below, I want to put the item into "Legal review" and to do so I have to mark "Approval" as complete when it hasn't actually been through any approval process.

In another example, my item is currently in the "Live on CMS" workflow step. To move it back to "Editing" I have to mark "Editing" as incomplete.

Is "Editing" incomplete? Or is it just no longer "Live on CMS"? It's this unnecessary cognitive burden we're aiming to remove, especially for new users.

The solution

Straight-forward workflow

You can now simply select the status you want the item to be, without worrying about marking things as complete or incomplete. This method is the same whether moving an item forward or back through a workflow.

We have also surfaced the ability to leave a message or "note" with a status change. Previously this message was just added to the email notification, but it will now be visible in the project activity feed. Assignees will always be notified, but you can also @mention other team members if you want to make them aware of the change.

Workflow assignees

Last but certainly not least, you'll now be able to assign people to workflow steps on an item. It's common for the same people to be responsible for the same workflow steps, especially when it comes to reviewing content.

You can now simply add them to the appropriate workflow step and they'll be notified and assigned as soon as an item reaches that workflow step. Plus, they'll be automatically unassigned when an item leaves their workflow step.

Workflow assignees are also consistent, meaning that even when an item moves to a different workflow step, they will still be responsible for their step. This is another mechanism to aid with the unpredictable nature of content - they'll be informed if they need to review content for the second or third time.

We hope you enjoy the update! If you have any questions, please reach out to the team and we'll be happy to help.

Completed items (Updated June 2021)

With the release of the new workflow dropdown, it will no longer be possible to mark items as "complete". Existing items that are marked as complete won't change, but future items won't have the ability to be marked as complete.

Why the change? Originally, marking items as complete was a way for items to be considered finished and for all due dates to be ignored. At the time this made sense, but since then there have been iterative updates to workflow which has rendered this feature redundant.

The "completed" feature itself can easily be replicated with our existing workflow feature, by simply adding an extra workflow step called "Completed" and not setting a due date. To keep GatherContent as focussed as possible, we have decided to remove the feature and focus our efforts on other important areas of the product.

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