Introducing Automation Rules

 In Change Management, New Feature, Project Management

SearchA major new capability called ‘Automation Rules’ has been added to the 4me service. It allows change and project managers to automatically cause records in 4me to be updated when certain conditions have been met as people are working on the tasks of their changes and project.

Any person who has the Account Designer or Account Administrator role can add automation rules to the tasks of the changes or projects they manage. What’s probably more important is that they can also add automation rules to the workflows defined in the change templates and project templates. That ensures that these automation rules are included whenever the templates are used to register a new change, or to add some standard phases to a project.

To add automation rules to, for example, one of the task templates that is part of a specific change template, open the Gantt Chart of the change template’s workflow. When you hover your mouse cursor over one of the task templates, the Automation Rules icon appears. Clicking on this icon allows you to add one or more automation rules for this task template. Keep in mind that the automation rules you add to a task template are limited only to the change template in which you do this. So other change templates to which the same task template is linked will not be affected.

Adding an automation rule in the Gantt chart of a change template

Let’s use the above change template as an example to explain more about the Automation Rules functionality. This change template is used to prepare everything that is needed when a new employee joins the organization. Its workflow looks as follows:

Change template workflow with automation rules in Gantt chart

Note that the little Automation Rules icon indicates that the first task includes one or more automation rules. When you click on this icon you can review these rules. In this example four rules have been defined:

Example of automation rules defined for a task template

In the screen above, the order in which the rules are executed can be adjusted by dragging them up or down. When you click on one of the four rules, you are able to see what this rule does. And if you have the Account Designer or Account Administrator role, you can update or delete this rule. The first rule uses information from a UI extension:

Automation rule example 1

The second rule also uses data from this UI extension. It uses this data to determine whether a task is needed for a specific change:

Automation rule example 2

When these rules are triggered for an actual change that was created based on this template, you can see which rules were executed by opening the task, clicking on the Actions button in the toolbar and selecting the ‘Automation Trail’ option from the Actions menu:

Rule executions are visible in a taskAutomation Trail - Rule executions

Clicking on one of these rule executions opens a graphical representation of the automation trace which shows the actions that were executed. The blue one is the rule execution that was selected from the task.

Graphical representation of the automation trace that shows the rule executions

In the automation trace it is possible to click on an automation rule to see how it was processed:

Automation trace rule execution details

Some useful automation rule examples have been documented in 4me online help.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating automation rules. First, automation rules are executed after all the standard logic of the 4me service has been processed. This means, for example, that if a rule is to trigger after a task has been set to the status ‘Completed’, 4me first updates the status of the task’s successors to ‘Assigned’, before executing the automation rule.

It is also important to know that automation rules do not have more access rights than the person for whom the rules are executed. This means that when automation rules are executed for the manager of a change, these rules are only allowed to execute actions which the change manager is allowed to perform manually.

User AccessGantt Chart