What is Workflow Automation?
Viima's workflow automation feature is a powerful business rules engine that allows you to set up automated workflows, enforce processes, and automate recurring or repetitive tasks based on your unique needs.
Workflows are configured on a per board level via the admin portal, and thus require board admin permissions.
Workflow automation is available in all of Viima's paid plans. The amount of workflows you can create and use per board is determined by your plan.
Why use Workflow Automation?
There are a few primary use cases and benefits for Viima's workflow automation feature. The most common ones are:
Creating customized workflows to configure Viima to meet your specific business requirements
Enforcing jointly agreed upon processes, leading to better quality work
Automating recurring (e.g. categorising ideas, reminder emails for ideas that are not progressing) or repetitive (e.g. move 100 ideas to a new board) tasks, saving time & allowing you to focus on what matters
How does workflow automation work?
As mentioned in the introduction, workflows are configured on a per board level via the admin portal. In a nutshell, once created and enabled, Viima will look for the trigger criteria of the workflow to be fulfilled, and once that happens, execute all actions of the workflow in order.
Each workflow consists of some settings that apply for the entire workflow, exactly one trigger optionally combined with additional filters, as well as one or more actions.
We'll next explain each of the three types of components in more detail:
Workflow-level settings are settings that affect the entire workflow. While simple, these are briefly explained below:
Name. Used simply for identifying your workflows. Should ideally be descriptive, clear, and concise.
Enabled toggle. Workflows are executed only once they are enabled. This allows you to first create and review them, and then turn them on when you're ready.
Execute once per idea toggle. If enabled, your workflow will only be executed once for each idea. This is useful if you want to e.g. stop too many reminders being sent regarding the same idea. If disabled, it will be executed whenever the trigger conditions are met, even if the idea has already been processed by the same workflow. This is useful, if you'd e.g. want the same rules to apply to the idea every time a new comment is added or it's moved to another status.
These settings are found from, and can be altered via the top bar of the workflow:
Each workflow has only one trigger, optionally further refined by additional filters. You can combine multiple filters together by clicking on the "AND" button. This can help you set up highly specific rules.
In general, there are two types of triggers:
Each time the defined event happens (and if there are additional filters, these are met) the workflow will be executed, and all defined actions are performed.
Examples of event-based triggers are "New like added", and "Idea status has changed".
Time-based triggers evaluate the conditions of the trigger every 15 minutes. If the criteria for the trigger, along with additional filters are met, the workflow will be executed.
While time-based triggers are very useful, defining the trigger criteria too loosely can lead to undesirable conditions. For example, in the screenshot below, your workflow would send a separate email for every idea that hasn't been acted upon in the last 11 days, and do that every 15 minutes non-stop until disabled. On large boards, this could easily lead to hundreds of emails being sent.
Each workflow must have at least 1 action, but you are free to add as many more as you want.
There are many types of actions available, most of which are pretty self-explanatory, such as moving ideas to a new category, or assigning someone to be responsible for it.
For more detailed listing of available actions, as well as the options for configuring them, please review our article on the topic: List of automation workflow actions.
Creating a new workflow
Disabling or deleting a workflow
To disable a workflow, you can simply click the green toggle icon of the desired workflow on either the Automation section's main page, or from within the workflow. This will immediately stop the workflow from being processed, but allows you to keep it in case you want to re-enable it later, or simply review the logs of the workflow.
If you'd instead like to remove the workflow entirely, you can do so by clicking on the trash can icon on the right side of each workflow. This will first disable the workflow, and then remove it permanently. Please note that this action is not reversible, and means that the activity log for the workflow will also be deleted!
Reviewing & troubleshooting workflows
Each workflow has an activity log which lists everything the workflow has ever done, as well as who changed it and when.
This is useful for validating that the workflow works as intended, as well as for troubleshooting possible errors or undesirable behavior. You can access by clicking on the View log button from the control bar of the workflow.
This will take you to a separate page listing everything the workflow has ever done, as well as who changed it, and when.
So, the basic process for fixing a workflow that doesn't behave as desired, goes as follows:
Review the log to spot examples of undesirable behaviour. If necessary, review the mentioned ideas to see why they matched your trigger criteria.
Address the problem by making changes to the workflow trigger criteria and/or actions.
Try to trigger the workflow with a test idea, then review the log to validate that it now works as intended.
Examples of common workflows
Here's a brief list of some of the most common workflows our customers are currently using to serve as inspiration for creating your own.
Notify admins of "zombie" ideas that are not progressing
Automatically graduate ideas to a new status, e.g. when they’re "hot"
Automatically assign ideas to appropriate people
Send automated instructions and/or thank you messages for idea submitters
Set responsible and move ideas to another board once approved for implementation