Using Skip to Stage with Nintex Workflow for Project Server

I recently had a customer ask me how to use the Skip to Stage functionality of Nintex Workflow for Project Server. Now I know I have done a few Nintex posts recently, but I promised them I would post this for the greater good of the EPM community Smile (and will lay off Nintex for the next few months).

In case your not aware, the Skip to Stage capability of Project Server allows an administrator to skip a workflow to a particular stage, usually as a result of modifying the existing workflow, or swapping to a different workflow and needing to skip over some of the business logic or steps.

Workflow - Stage to skip to

Sam Chung wrote an excellent blog post on this over at the Project Programmability blog back in February 2010, and the same concepts apply to Nintex. Consider the flow chart below which outlines a simple Project Server workflow scenario.

Project Server Workflow

Should the administrator wish to skip this workflow to the the execution stage, and skip the approval, it is not possible as the workflow has not been coded to allow it. This is where the Skip To Stage information comes into play. When an administrator chooses to skip to a specific stage using the Server Settings > Change or Restart a workflow, the workflow is initiated with two pieces of information:

  • the Skip To Stage parameter set to ‘True’;
  • the Stage UID of the desired stage to skip to is passed through.

In the workflow, if logic is added to check for this, then it is possible to bypass the business logic for the stage and skip over. The Project Server workflow engine is clever enough to determine if the stage being skipped to is the stage in the StageUID and will stop the skipping there (however the same caveats that apply for a Visual Studio workflow apply and if the required fields for a stage being skipped are not completed, the workflow won’t skip).

Project Server Workflow - Skip to stage

 

Now to incorporate this into a Nintex Workflow for Project Server couldn’t be simpler, all that is required is to use the ‘Set a condition’ action to do a check on the Skip To Stage context variable, and then branch to the approval / flexi task (as below) if the value is no, or to skip over the approval logic if the value is yes. In the screenshot below, I have also added a ‘Set Status Information’ so I can log to the workflow that the skip is happening.

Nintex - Set a condition

 

The Skip To Stage information is stored within the Workflow Context, so when setting up the ‘Set a Condition’ action, make sure you pick the Workflow Context.

Configure Action - Set a condition - Workflow Context

Finally, as mentioned in Sam’s original blog post, you need to ensure you have selected the Always Wait option in your Set Stage actions.

Configure Action - Set project stage

If you don’t do this, the workflow may continue to skip past the requested stage.

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2 thoughts on “Using Skip to Stage with Nintex Workflow for Project Server

  1. I have found that if you restart a workflow, yes it will stop at the stage you’re after.
    But, when you continue through the workflow after it has stopped, the Skip to Stage variable still contains True. So, it will continue down the “skip” path for the rest of the workflow (stopping at each Stage).
    Am I doing something wrong, or is this functionality broken?

    • Hi David,

      I have managed to reproduce the above. What I am not sure is that whether its NW4PS or Project Server that is not updating the skip to stage context.

      As a workaround I would imagine you could read the Skip to Stage context early in your workflow then as the sequential workflow progresses, use that to police the logic for the S2S. If the S2S branch is checked, then update that variable to be false.

      Hope this helps,

      Alex

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