Leveraging Approval Processes for Change Requests

Nic Widhalm

Jul 15 2016 13 min read

Welcome to our sneak peek into the Admin Power Hours Track for Delivery 2016: Approval Process.

Getting approvals and sign-offs are part of good business practices. With Cloud Coach, you can automate your approval processes and apply them to your everyday processes, such as timesheet approval or project change request approval. Cloud Coach reduces the time it takes to get items approved, cuts down the effort required to manage approvals, and gives you an audit trail of who approved what and when.

In this session you’ll learn how to:

  • Employ automation to speed up your change requests
  • Create dynamic approval processes based upon unique business rules
  • Integrate Cloud Coach objects like Meetings to enhance the approval process

Today we’re discussing an issue that affects the success of almost every project: scope creep. Managing scope creep is one of the most important ways a project manager can ensure the project arrives on time and under budget. Let’s break down the tools a user can leverage in Cloud Coach to automate and manage change requests as they occur.

The Problem

Our project manager has noticed that Project A is showing signs of scope creep, and she wants to address the issue proactively to make sure it doesn’t affect the timeline. After some consideration, she concluded that she needs a formal change management process to manage scope creep. This process should move a change request through multiple levels of approval, as well provide a standard follow-up action plan.


The Solution

Establish Criteria for Approval

Let’s tackle the approval problem first. Our project manager needs her change request to go through several levels of approval. Managers and executives may need to add additional details as the request moves up the ladder. We’re going to solve this problem using our Cloud Coach Ticket Object.

Using Tickets, we can create multiple record types with custom fields to use as criteria for our approval process. Using page layouts allows managers to see additional fields on the ticket based on those record types, and gives them the option more information as the change request goes through the approval process.

For our use case, we establish a multi-select picklist called Change Type that will drive our approval process. Let’s populate our picklist with three change types: Timeline, Scope, and Budget.

Since we want more than just a few picklist values to determine our approval process, so let’s also create two formula fields to reference. The first we’ll call Project Location, a simple formula that references the Location Work Type assigned to a project. The second we’ll name Business Size, and this will reference the Amount and Number of Employees’ fields on the Account related to our Project. On our change request ticket it will look something like this:

For our Project Location formula field, we point to the name of the Location assigned to our project.

For our Business Size field, we create an IF function. This function gives us “Small Account” if the related account has fewer than 500 employees, and the account amount is lower than $1,000,000, or “Large Account” if those fields are greater.

Approval Queues

Since we want our approval process to be as dynamic as possible, we create several queues for our change request. Depending on how many  entry criteria you have, could have several approval queues.

Create Approval Processes

Now that we have our queues set up, it’s time to create a few approval processes. Again, depending on how varied you like your entry criteria, you may need to create a large number of processes. You’ll need at least one for each separate approval queue.

Don’t forget to establish email templates for your approval process if you don’t already have some predefined. We can use a different email template for each step of the approval process, so it’s worth creating one for the initial submission, as well as a new one for step two.

You can establish criteria for approval processes many ways, but for our example, we’ll create a process for each queue, and set the criteria to send based off three selections: the change type, the business size, and the project location.

Since we want our change request to go through at least two approval steps, we’ll set our approval queue for step one, and an executive user at step two. That way, if the executive user would like more information he can reject the change request, returning it to step one, and allowing anyone in the approval queue to make the needed changes before they send it again for final approval.

Once your approval steps are activated, it’s time to test your process. Create a new change request and submit it for approval. Make sure to check that your email alerts are sending with each step of the process and that you’re testing with different users assigned to the approval queue.

Create a Meeting Template

Now we’ve created a set of approval processes that can route our change request through the appropriate channels. But how do we make sure that our change request is implemented correctly? Let’s use another Cloud Coach object, Meetings, create a change request meeting automatically for each approved request.

Let’s start by creating a new meeting template.

Start by navigating to the Cloud Coach Productivity app, then to Setup in the left drop-down menu, and select Meeting Templates. From here we can predefine agenda items and meeting attendees (in case an Executive or high-level project managers always wants to be included in any meetings revolving around change requests).

Use Process Builder to Auto-Launch Our Meeting

After creating the meeting template we start building our process. The first step is to create a picklist on our change request record type called “Approval Status” with values for Submitted, Approved, and Rejected.

Next, we’ll have our Approval Process do a field update status to change Approval Status to “Approved” when our change request achieves Final Approval. Before moving on we’ll want to ensure that we’ve selected “Re-evaluate Workflow Rules after Field Change” on our Approval Process Field Update. This field update is the criteria for our meeting creation process.

From here, we move to Process Builder and create a new process called, “Meeting when Change Request Approved.” We pick Ticket as our object and start the process when a record is created or edited.

Now we need to set the criteria. Since we only need to have the first time meeting the first time that the Approval Status is changed to “Approved,” we use a formula as shown below.

The final step is to create an immediate action, using the action type, “Apex.” Let’s call it “Create Change Request Meeting” and since we’re pulling from a meeting template we’re going to invoke a custom Apex class that comes with every Cloud Coach licence called, “Create Meeting from Template.”

We define the field relationships as seen in the image below. We also want to capture the unique Meeting Template Id from our meeting template, using the “Get Template Id” option in the top right corner and use it as seen below:

For “Meeting Start Time” we use a formula field so we can automatically set the meeting to occur two days from when the change request is approved.

Finally, we associate the Ticket Record Id field with the Related Record Id field.

When all is said and done, our process should look like the below image:

Now, let’s test it by sending a new change request ticket through the approval process, and ensure it creates our new meeting after Approval Status changes to “Approved.”

We can find our meeting in the related lists at the bottom of our change request detail page:

As well as our upcoming meetings when we navigate to the Meetings page in the Cloud Coach Productivity App.

Once you’ve defined your process, it’s easy to manage change requests by leveraging Cloud Coach features and simple Salesforce automation tools.

By customizing your change request record type, you can create criteria for an approval process that’s specific to your business and send it through the proper channels. And with Meeting Templates you can easily create an automation process to ensure proper planning once your change requests are approved.  Cloud Coach makes it easier to manage and execute change requests, minimizing unintended scope creep.


Nic Widhalm

Nic is the Global VP, Customer Experience, at Cloud Coach

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