Tasks & Approvals: An Analysis and Suggestions

Idea created by Todd Thomas on Jun 1, 2017
    New Idea
    • Jason Davidson
    • Andrew Eardley-Day
    • Todd Thomas
    • Todd Funasaki
    • Gustavo Trujillo
    Approvals and Tasks are necessary and useful additions to the Samanage product. However, there are some strange inconsistencies and feature gaps that prevent people from fully utilizing these features today.

    While Tasks and Approvals both seem similar, we discovered that Approvals are slightly superior to Tasks today in a couple ways:
    1. You can view the time stamp easily when an approval happens, whereas a Task you can't see this unless you visit the Audit log.
    2. You can resend the approval email whereas you can't resend a Task notification. This is very helpful functionality and could/should be extended as a reminder for Tasks.
    In either case, you don't get any notifications when a Task or Approval is completed today, but only if you're involved in the next step of the workflow, which isn't always the case.


    Approvals also allow you to have a yes/no option whereas Tasks only allow you to choose "Complete", but sometimes this makes more sense as a barrier to completion as opposed to a choice to abort/end.


    Both Tasks and Approvals show up in the My Tasks section (which should be renamed). Approvals show up as "Approve" or "Decline" whereas Tasks appear with the option for "Complete".


    Strangely, when you Decline through any method (via email, My Tasks in the app, or My Tasks in the portal) you no longer have the ability to put a reason when you choose Decline. You used to be able to do this when clicking on an email message, but it appears this functionality has been removed.


    Suggestions for improvements:
    1. Send notifications to the incident assignee when a Task or Approval has been Completed or Approved/Denied. Otherwise it's up to the incident assignee to remember to follow back up on an incident where another group may be doing multiple tasks.


    2. Restore the ability to add a reason for denying an approval, ideally both through email as well as the web app. Without a text box around why something was denied, a denial may seem accidental, arbitrary, or raise further questions.


    3. Rename the "My Tasks" to something more reflective of the fact that you have both Tasks and Approvals in the list.


    4. Improve the interface for My Tasks in the web app view so you can select multiple tasks or approvals at once and do this in bulk. Incidents have this functionality, and so should Tasks/Approvals.


    5. Create reports that show the number of assigned Tasks or Approvals, similar to the ones now for Incidents. This is still work being done by the agent and needs the ability to be reported on and tracked over time.


    6. Allow us to create an incident from a Task and then link to the Task directly. Sometimes a "Task" might be a major undertaking and there isn't a way to link to another incident directly from that Task itself.
    7. Add the ability to resend notifications for Tasks that need to be completed, similar to Approvals.
    What problem will this feature solve?: