Aha! Ideas | Configure workflow approvals

Workflow approvals are ideal any time you need to standardize your approval process. Workflow approvals in Aha! Ideas streamline review cycles and focus your team on consistent delivery and high-quality work.

There are two types of workflows in Aha! Ideas — flexible and fixed.

  • Flexible workflows are best suited for teams who do not need a formal approval process to manage work.

  • Fixed workflows are best suited for workflows that need to be consistent and require formal approval before work can proceed.

In a fixed workflow, the only way to change the status of a record is via a transition button. Adding an optional approval step to a transition automatically creates an approval task, assigns it to an approval group, and sets a due date. A workflow approvals section will appear in the drawer view of your records. This is where assignees can choose to approve, approve with changes, or reject work. You can also view the status of approval tasks in a pivot report.

In a fixed workflow, the record's transition button is the only way to change the record's status. CSV imports and integrations will not change an existing record's status — but you can import new records to the right status in a fixed workflow and bypass any approvals.

Approval to-do on an idea showing the option to approve or approve with comment.

Because workflow approvals require fixed workflows and because approval gates often represent watershed moments in a record's lifecycle, they pair very well with read-only fields.

Read-only fields block users from editing them from a record's detail and drawer views, so that your team has all the context of information approved in a workflow approval without being able to accidentally change it.

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Create workflow approval groups

If fixed workflows make sense for your team, you can decide to add approval gates to any status transition. Approval gates block a record from moving to the next stage in its workflow until an approval group gives its approval. An approval group could be a group of people or a single user in your Aha! Ideas account.

To create a workflow approval group, you will need to be an administrator with customizations permissions.

  • Navigate to Settings ⚙️ Account Approval groups to get started.

  • Click the Add group button to create a new group. At this point, you aren't assigning users to your group; you are just creating the group name.

Approval groups could be called Product Management, Legal, Marketing, User Research — any group that you think will need to review a record before it can progress in its workflow.


Populate workflow approval groups

Now that you have created a workflow approval group, it is time to add users to it.

To populate workflow approval groups, you will need to be a workspace owner.

  • Navigate to Settings ⚙️ Workspace Approval groups to get started.

  • You will see a list of available approval groups. Add users in the Users for this workspace column.

    Users are not notified when they are added to an approval group. They are notified when they are assigned an approval to-do.


Add approval gates to a fixed workflow

With approval groups created and populated, you are ready to add approval gates to a fixed workflow.

To create a fixed workflow, you will need to be an administrator with customizations permissions.

  1. Navigate to Settings ⚙️ Account Statuses and workflows to get started.

  2. You can choose to Add a new workflow or use the filters to select an existing one.

  3. Once you have clicked on a workflow, select Fixed. The Transitions column will change to Transitions and approvals.

  4. You will also see the option to Restrict approval changes. When selected, only administrators with customization permissions will be allowed to edit or delete approval to-dos created by the workflow.

  5. In a fixed workflow, records can only progress along the statuses and transitions that you allow. Create a transition for every allowed status change.

  6. Transitions do not need to have approval gates but you can add one to any transition. Click Add status transition or click Edit on an existing transition to add an approval gate. Add an approval gate to the originating status.

  7. If you want a formal approval before an idea moves from Needs review to In progress, add a status transition to the Needs review status transition.

You will need to create a separate status for the review period. Then, for example, your record can transition from Needs review to In review to In progress. An approval gate between In review and In progress would move the record to In progress if approved, and back to Not started if rejected.

Once you have the Add or Edit transition modal open:

  1. Choose which status you want to transition to. Statuses can have multiple transitions and transitions do not have to be linear. Needs review can have separate transitions into Will not implement, Research, and Planned, for example.

  2. Check Approval required to add an approval gate. You can add multiple approval gates to each status transition if the workflow needs approvals from several different approval groups.

Approval gates function like to-dos, with a few key differences. They are assigned to approval groups, not individuals. They can be resolved three ways: with Approval, Approval with changes, or Reject. When an approval to-do has been resolved, the record will move to the next status in the transition.

  1. Name your approval gate the way you would a to-do, describing the task required.

  2. Add a Description.

  3. Assign the approval gate to an approval group.

  4. Check whether the approval gate requires Any or All approvals. If there are multiple users in an approval group, this determines whether you need approval from each group member or only one.

  5. Set the Due date.

  6. Set the If rejected status. If the approval is rejected, this is the status the record should revert to.

  7. Click Save to save your changes.

You can change these to-do details later, even after the approval to-do has been sent, to personalize the approval to-do to the unique record and review.

Under the Transitions and approvals column, you will now see your transition.

  • Remember, workspace owners will need to select your workflow in Settings ⚙️ Workspace Approval groups before records in that workspace will use your workflow.

  • If you change the workflow for a record type in Settings ⚙️ Workspace Approval groups, it will change the statuses for all records in that workspace, which cannot be undone.


Use approval to-dos

You can be assigned an approval to-do three ways:

  • If you are a member of an approval group and a record transitions to a status with an approval gate.

  • If someone assigns you an approval to-do.

  • Anytime you create a to-do and choose the Approval to-do type.

Contributors can edit approval to-dos so that users can add useful details to the standard approval to-do.

Workflow approval to-dos will appear in the Workflow approvals section of a record. Approval to-dos appear in the To-dos section of a record in a Pending status. Both function the same way. You have the option to Comment only, Approve, Approve with changes, and Reject. Use comments to discuss the approval and Approve with changes if your approval is contingent on a few minor changes that do not require another formal approval.

Note: If you are using a flexible workflow but still want occasional approvals, you can create approval to-dos as needed. Approval to-dos will not block a record from transitioning to a new status.

Aha! Ideas sends notifications to approval to-do assignees one day before the due date, the day of the due date, and each day after the due date until the assignee completes the to-do.


Report on workflow approvals

Just like other data elements in Aha! Ideas, you can report on workflow approvals.

Pivot table of approval to-dos over several ideas.
  • On any record using a fixed workflow, scroll down to the Workflow approvals section and click View in pivot report to view a pre-built report on the approvals by record and status transition.

  • Build reports using Approval as a primary record type.

  • Once you have built approval reports, share them as webpages to keep key stakeholders informed.