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Tracking your Flow in your SharePoint list

Very often we will trigger a flow from a SharePoint list, and we need to keep track of where the flow is for the particular list item.

 

This article is going to explain how to keep track of your flows, from inside your SharePoint list.

 

To illustrate this, we going to create a small example - we will create a list, and from the list we will trigger a flow.

 

In the flow, we will send an approval task to a user to approve. This way we demonstrate the following:

  1. Keep track of the state of the workflow;
  2. Keep track of the outcome of the tasks in the workflow.

What do we need to track

We would like to track the following:

  1. Status of the workflow - this is what state the workflow is in;
  2. Results of tasks - so we need to capture:
    1. Who completed the task;
    2. Date/Time the task was completed;
    3. Outcome of the task (approve, reject etc);
    4. Comments;
    5. Any other fields captured in the card.

Example

Start by creating a new list
NewList.pngSelect "List" from the "New" menu

From our list, we should create a flow
NewFlow.pngSelect "Create a flow" from the Flow menu

Choose the template "When a new item is added in SharePoint, complete a custom action"
customaction.PNGChoose this flow template

We now will add the "Start an Approval" task into our flow:
startapproval.PNGChoose Start an Approval action

Add the details of the approval task:
newapprove.PNGManagers Approval

Save this workflow - now we have created our list, and created a workflow that triggers an approval action.

But our list is not connected to our flow at all, so how do we do this?

 

Extending the List

We have to add a set of fields to our list, to keep track of what is happening in our flow.

Add a Status Column

First we add a new column, a Status field to our list. So start by adding a Choice field to the list:

Choice.pngAdd a column, choose Choice

Call it "Status", and our 2 states are:

  • Managers Approval
  • Completed

statuscolumn.PNGAdd Status field

This will hold the current state of the workflow.

Keep track of the task

 To keep track of the task, we should add the following fields:

  • Approver - user who completed the task;
  • Approved Date - Date/time the task was completed;
  • Decision - the decision made;
  • Comment - the comment left by the user.

So let add the 4 fields:

addFields.PNGTask fields

Now we have all the fields to keep track of the status of the workflow, and the result of task.

 

Lets wire up the workflow

The only item left to do, is to get our flow to update our list. So let return to our flow, and add the an "SharePoint -Update item" action after the trigger:

addupdate.pngAdd Update Item action

Set the Status Value to "Managers Approval", as this is the next item in our workflow that is going to happen:

setmanagerapproval.pngSet the Status to "Managers Approval"

Now we will record the details of the approval task in the list, so add another "SharePoint - Update item" action after the approval task. 

Then set the Status to "Completed", and the Approver Claims, Approved Date, Decision, and Comments from the properties of the "Manager Approval" action:

completetask.pngUpdate the list with the results of the Approval Task

Our SharePoint list and workflow are now connected, and we can see the status of the workflow from the list.

wf.PNGCompleted workflow 

Lets test

Now comes the fun part - add an item into our list:

testitem.PNGAdd an item

The Status column should update, showing that the "Manager Approval" task is in action:

in action.PNGStatus column updates

 In our inbox, or flow app, you will receive the task:

task.pngTask from Flow

Complete the task, by approving it, and enter a comment:

taskcomplete.PNGApprove the task, and enter a comment

Check your list, and you will see the Status is "Completed", and the approver, date, decision and comment is updated in the list:

complete.png

A good hint is to add view to list for the different status, so it is easy to keep track of where the workflow are for all list items.

Meet Our Blog Authors
  • Working daily with Microsoft Cloud to deliver the needs of my company, my customers and various Microsoft communities and forums. | Office 365 | Flow | PowerShell | PowerApps | SharePoint |
  • Co-founder of https://plumsail.com, Office 365 and SharePoint expert. Passionate about design and development of easy to use, convenient and flexible products.
  • Microsoft Business Apps MVP. Owner of ThriveFast, an Office 365 consulting company.
  • 7x Microsoft Business Solutions MVP (CRM)
  • Solution Architect with Slalom, and organizer of the Boston Office 365 User Group, and long term SharePoint/Office 365 veteren. Find more at http://www.davidlozzi.com. Follow @DavidLozzi
  • I'm keen in MS technologies, SharePoint, Office 365 and development for them
  • Daniel is a Business Productivity Consultant & Microsoft Business Solutions MVP who is very enthusiastic about all things Office 365, Microsoft Flow, PowerApps, Azure & SharePoint (Online). Since the preview, Daniel has been working with Microsoft Flow and later on with Microsoft PowerApps. That led to him being awarded an MVP Award for Business Solutions. He loves to blog, present and evangelize about improving productivity in the modern workspace with these amazing tools!
  • Michelle is an Office 365 solution architect in Twin Cities, MN. She has been delivering business collaboration solutions for years with her focus on SharePoint and Office 365. Michelle is a recent board member of the Minnesota Office 365 User Group and has been a member of the SharePoint community since 2009. She is a frequent speaker at MNSPUG and SharePoint Saturday and co-chaired the Legal SharePoint User Group for 4 years. Her most frequent projects have involved rolling out a large deployment of Office 365, SharePoint Online intranet, build of a "CHAMPS" Office 365 user adoption program and most recently, SharePoint On-Premise to Online Migration. Michelle is very excited about cloud technology as it is shifting her IT Pro focus to collaboration strategy and technical adoption.
  • I'm a Microsoft Office Servers and Services MVP with a special interest in SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Teams and PowerApps. I work at Triad Group Plc ( https://triad.co.uk)
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