I was working on a project to implement a process for three stage approvals using SharePoint workflows.
Someone will submit a request, it goes for first approval (Stage 1), if approved it will go to the second approval (Stage 2), and finally if approved a third approval is required (Stage 3).
You can simply do this with SharePoint. The challenge is how to present such solution in a visual way and create a dashboard to present the current request state. So at any point of time, it is nice to see where the request is standing in terms of approvals, and perhaps a dashboard showing this in a nice way. After all, a picture worth a million words.
How to do this?
We need to create a list called (Submit Request). But keep in mind that we need to have some hidden columns in this list to host some metadata that we may use to create the dashboard.
The best way is to use SharePoint Content Types. Content types are reusable structures that you can attach to list and libraries to describe the columns schema from central place.
Creating Content Type
Go to Site Settings > Site Content types > Create
Name: Submit Request Type.
Select Parent Content Type From: List Content Types.
Parent Content Type: Item.
Then start adding columns by clicking (Add from new site column). You can add columns like (Request Title), (Request Reason), and any other data you need.
The most important thing is that you create a new column called (Photo) with type (Single line of text).
Now, let us move and create a new custom list) and name it Submit Request. Then opening the List Settings> Advance Settings> Enable Management of Content Type.
Then click Add from existing site content types, and add the newly created one (Submit Request).
The new content type will appear now as an available Content Type
Finally, click on the content type called (Item) and then click Delete this content type.
Finally, we will go back to the (Submit Request Type) content type, and mark the Photo column as hidden.
Creating Picture Library
The next step is to create Picture Library, and add to it a photo that describes each possible outcome from submitting the request.
Since our request consists of three stages, then we need total of 6 pictures:
- Stage One Completed
- Stage One Rejected
- Stage Two Completed
- Stage Two Rejected
- Stage Three Completed
- Stage Three Rejected
Here is an example of couple of photos I am using: