Workflow concepts

Workflows organize the tasks, approval tasks, stages, and milestones for each project. Workflows measure the time that is spent on each part of the project and the people who are assigned to work on it.


Tasks are steps in the workflow where a user or the system acts. The task is not complete until the action is complete.

Form tasks

Form tasks are steps in the workflow where a user must complete a specific form. After the user completes the form, the task is complete.

Each form task requires the user to complete one specific form on a custom tab in the template. Use multiple form tasks to instruct users to complete multiple forms. You cannot use form tasks to complete custom forms on the summary tab.

After users complete the form, they can submit the form for approval.

Approval tasks

You include approval tasks in a workflow to indicate that an approval process must take place. On the Workflow tab, you can start the approval process for an approval task. When the approval process is in progress, the Workflow tab organizes information about that process, but you can no longer edit the approval task.

Rework loops

When IBM Marketing Operations and Workflow Services are integrated, you can use the Advanced Workflow capabilities in Marketing Operations to create, workflows with rework loops. You can specify the rework loop task for an approval task. If an approval is denied, the status for the approval task is set to On Hold and the status for all the tasks that are included in the rework loop is set as Pending.


You can group tasks together under headings called stages. Stages can help you with task organization. For example, you can create a stage that has all tasks your field marketers-specific users do. In spreadsheet view mode or edit mode, stages are the headings in bold that group the tasks together.


You can identify workflow tasks as milestones for your project. Example milestones include Job Start, Meeting, and Event.


Workflows contain the following types of dates.

  • Forecast/Actual dates begin as forecast dates: future dates when a task owner plans on starting and completing a task. These dates are specified while the task is still pending. When a team member a starts and completes a task, the same dates can be used or different dates that are supplied as the actual dates.

    Actual dates specify when tasks start and finish.

  • Target dates are dates that are used to plan the project schedule. Typically, they are set at the beginning of the project.
  • Anchored dates are fixed dates that cannot change, even if the dates of the tasks upon which they are dependent change.
  • Non-work time represents dates when people do not work, so the system skips those dates when it calculates durations for tasks. Marketing OperationsDistributed Marketing currently supports system-wide non-work time that applies to all tasks. It is up to the project managerList, On-demand Campaign, or Corporate Campaign manager to determine whether overriding any of these dates is necessary. System administrators enter and maintain these dates.
  • Weekend dates are dates that you use to specify work that occurs on a weekend on a per-task basis. You can schedule work on a weekend date by using the Schedule Through option for each task.


Duration is the actual number of days that are assigned to a task. When you assign start and end dates, the system automatically calculates the difference between the forecast or actual start date, and the forecast or actual end date for a task. The actual number of days between the start and end dates equals the duration of the task.

You can assign duration by using any non-negative number. For example, you can use 0.25 to assign a quarter of a day for the task duration.

Duration is the actual number of days that are assigned to a task. The duration control is in a DD-HH-MM format. You can enter up to 999 days value for the DD field, your applicable business hours that are based on the beginningOfDay and numberOfHoursPerDay configuration settings for the HH field, and a value in 30-minute intervals for the MM field.


The work effort in days (as opposed to duration) that it takes a user to complete a task. For example, a task takes three calendar days to complete, but the task owner spends only half a day on the task for each of the three days. In this case, the effort for the task is one and a half days even though the duration is three days.

Locked tasks

When you edit a task, the task is locked so no other user can edit it at the same time. Additionally, when someone creates an approval process from an approval task, the approval task becomes locked permanently.

If anyone attempts to edit a locked task, they receive a warning message, indicating that it is in use.

People and roles

You can assign tasks to individual team members or you can assign tasks to all team members in each role. When you assign a task to one or more team members, they are considered to be task owners. You assign roles to team members on the People tab of the List, On-demand Campaign, or Corporate Campaign.project.

Workflows use the following concepts to identify people in the workflow.

  • Task owners are the people responsible for running or managing workflow tasks.
  • Reviewers are responsible for approval tasks. These members become the approvers of the task.
  • Roles are used as a bridge between tasks and people. They are useful for assigning work on a generic basis. For example, each type of project you create can have its own workflow template, and the template can contain standard roles for certain tasks. Then, when you create a project, some (or all) of the tasks have a default role that is already associated with them.
  • Roles are used as a bridge between tasks and people. When a role is assigned to a task in a List, On-demand Campaign or Corporate Campaign, all users that are associated with that role are owners of the task. Templates can contain roles for certain tasks. Then, when you create a List, On-demand Campaign or Corporate Campaign, some (or all) of the tasks have a default role that is already associated with them.
Note: Each workflow might contain users from different timezones. You chose whether Marketing Operations displays the timezone after the time stamps on the workflow and workflow columns. For more information, see Calendar display options.