Zoho Projects Blueprint helps you define and design a workflow to automate processes in an organized manner. The main components of a blueprint are statuses and transitions:
- A status indicates what stage a task is in at a particular point in the workflow.
- A transition is a link between two statuses and allows a task to move from one status to another.
To illustrate this, let's look at the workflow of the content review process at Zylker, Inc. Content review is a task assigned to the content team. They use Blueprint to automate the workflow of the review process. You can design a blueprint tailored to your business process.
In this blueprint, the review status is updated as it goes through various transitions. For example, the task status will be updated from Open to In progress via the Submit for review transition.
This help guide will show you how to design a blueprint with statuses and transitions, configure the transitions, and execute a blueprint.
- Feature Availability: Premium and Enterprise plans
- Navigate to > Task Automation > Blueprint to create a blueprint. If you are an admin but unable to access the above path, write to email@example.com
Create a Blueprint
- Click in the upper right corner of the top bar.
- Navigate to Task Automation > Blueprint.
- Click New Blueprint.
- In the popup, enter a blueprint name, select a layout, and enter a description for your blueprint.
You can specify criteria based on which the blueprint will be executed:
- If you want the blueprint to be executed for a particular task, specify the task name in the criteria.
- If you don’t specify any criteria, the blueprint will be executed for all modules.
- Click Save.
Design a Blueprint
Once your blueprint is created, you can customize its design in the Blueprint Editor. Drag and drop statuses from the Available Status section to the Blueprint Editor or add new task statuses.
To establish a connection between task statuses, either:
- Connect the nodes from one status to the next status in the workflow, or
- Drag a node from a status in the Blueprint Editor to create a new status.
The available statuses are the task statuses which are currently in your task layout. You can also add new task statuses. Know more about task custom status.
Add New Status
- Click Add next to Available Status.
- Enter the task status name.
- Select the status type. The default types are Open and Closed.
- You can choose a color for the status.
- Click Save.
- The newly added status in the blueprint will be saved to layouts only when you publish the blueprint.
- If you are reusing the same status in more than one blueprint, the corresponding status types will also be the same.
Edit or Remove Status
- To edit a status, click the status name in the workflow. The status details will be displayed in the right panel. Edit the necessary details and click Save.
- To remove a status, click the status name in the workflow and click in the top right corner of the status details panel.
Once the task has been updated with status, the type of that status cannot be modified.
A transition is a link between two statuses that allows a task to move from one status to another.
- Click + button in the link between two statuses.
- Enter the transition name.
- Enable Common transition and select the statuses for which this transition will be available.
- Configure the Before, During, and After transition settings.
In Before Transition, you can define criteria and perform the transition.
For example, in the content review process, only the content team’s manager can approve the content, given the due date and the content attached. In the Before Transition settings for the Approve transition, select Manager as the user and set the criteria with due date and attachment.
To Configure Before Transition:
Click on the Select user box and select the users who can perform the transition.
- You can select Assignee, Reporter, or any of the project users or roles in the Select User box.
- Click Add Criteria button to set the criteria for triggering the transition
Only the selected users or roles will be able to view the transition button in the task details page and perform the transition. If no users are selected, the transition button will be available to all users.
During Transition is configured with fields and messages. When the user performs a transition, they will give inputs to the fields. Messages are inserted as information or instructions to be displayed during the transition.
For example, in During Transition configuration for the Approve transition, Comments is added as a mandatory field and “The review process will be complete after this transition” is added as a message. This means that when the manager performs the Approve transition, they will be prompted to add a comment and will see the message displayed in the pop-up.
To Configure During Transition:
To insert a field, click Add and select Field. Choose the required field from the selection box and click Add.
- The fields are the default fields and the customized fields in your task layout.
- Click the Mandatory checkbox to make it compulsory for the user to fill this field.
- To insert a message, click Add and select Message. Enter the message in the text box and click Add.
- To reorder fields and messages, drag and drop the fields in your desired order. For example, if you want to display a message to the user before they fill out the fields, you can drag it before the fields.
After Transition is configured to perform automated actions when a transition is complete.
Configure email alerts and send them to specific users or teams when a transition is complete. For example, in the review process, an automated email is sent to the publisher when the content is approved.
- Click Add next to Email Alerts.
- Click Create Email Alert to create a new one and associate it with your transition. Know more about email alerts.
- You can also associate multiple email alerts with your transition. Select the email alerts that need to be sent and click Associate.
You can update specific field values when a transition is complete. For example, in the After Transition settings, you can set the % completion values for the task after each transition.
- Click Add next to Field Update.
- Select the field to be updated and set a value.
- Click to add more than one field and click - to delete the field.
- Click Save.
- Associate Webhook to a Blueprint
You can associate a webhook to a blueprint transition. Create custom email alerts for task updates, add custom function and webhooks in the After Transition of your Blueprint.
Click Add next to Webhooks.
Select the Webhooks that have to be associated.
You can remove a Webhook by clicking the close icon .
A maximum of 5 webhooks can be added to a blueprint transition.
A common transition is one which can be accessed from some or all statuses in the workflow.
For example, the review process can be put on hold at any time. In this blueprint, only the In Progress status can move to the On hold status via the Suspend transition. To allow other statuses to use this transition, Suspend must be enabled as a Common Transition from All statuses to On hold. The Suspend transition will be available in the task details page for all the status updates.
To Enable Common Transition:
- In the blueprint editor, click the transition to set as a common transition.
In the transition settings, toggle to enable Common Transition.
- If you have selected All statuses, the transition will be available in the task details page for all the status updates.
- If you have selected specific statuses, the transition will be available in the task details page only for the selected status.
Parallel Transitions refers to two or more transitions that are executed parallelly. A status can be updated only if all the transitions are completed.
Add Parallel Transition
In the blueprint editor, hover over a transition to which you want to add a parallel transition.
Enable the toggle beside the Parallel Transition option.
Enter the Transition Name.
A maximum of 4 parallel transitions are allowed.
A maximum of 2 parallel transitions sets can be created from a status.
Associate Parallel Transition
You can only create any number of independent transitions between two statuses. You can also convert independent transitions into parallel transitions.
In the blueprint editor, hover over a transition.
Click the icon to associate a transition.
Select the transition that you would like to associate.
Disable parallel transition toggle before associating a transition.
Color coding a Transition
Enter the Transition Name.
Click on the theme color beside the transition name.
Select the preferred color.
Publish a Blueprint
Once all the statuses and transitions you need are configured, you can publish the blueprint. When a blueprint is published, the tasks matching the blueprint criteria will follow the process workflow as defined in the blueprint.
When you're ready to do this,
- Click Publish in the bottom left corner of the Blueprint Editor.
- If you don’t want to publish your blueprint, you can still save it as a draft and continue to configure the statuses and transition.
- To save the blueprint as a draft, click Cancel in the bottom left corner of the Blueprint Editor. In the pop-up which opens, click Save as draft.
- Any new task status added to the workflow will not go live until you publish the blueprint.
- You can only configure blueprint, not test the process workflow on task.
Blueprints are grouped based on the Task Layouts. They will be executed in the order in which they are listed in the grouping.
Points to remember before publishing a blueprint:
- The status that connects the start state must always be Open, and the end status in the workflow must always be the Closed. Learn more
- All the statuses in the blueprint must be connected (via transitions) from the start state through to the end status. No status can be left disconnected in the blueprint.
- All the statuses and transitions must have unique names. You cannot publish a blueprint with unnamed statuses and transitions.
- Every status in the blueprint must have at least one incoming transition and one outgoing transition, except for the Closed status which can either have outgoing transitions or no outgoing transitions at all.
Executing a Blueprint
A quick summary:
- After creating a blueprint, drag and drop statuses from the Available Status section or create new statuses. Connect the nodes between two statuses to create a transition.
- Configure all the transitions and publish the blueprint. The transitions will then be displayed as buttons in the task details page.
- To perform a transition, click the transition button in the task details page. In the pop-up, enter the required details.
- When a transition is performed, the task status will be updated as per the workflow.
You can associate a blueprint to the tasks in a particular project, milestone, or task list.
- Navigate to Task Automation.
- Hover over the blueprint and click .
- Click Associate blueprint.
Select a project to which you want to associate the blueprint. The blueprint will be applied to all the tasks in the project.
- If you want to associate blueprint to the tasks in a particular milestone or task list, select them after selecting the project.
Click on the blueprint criteria checkbox if you want to associate blueprint to the tasks matching the blueprint criteria.
- You cannot proceed if there are no tasks matching the blueprint criteria or a blueprint is already applied to the tasks.
- Click Next.
Map the current task status to the status available in the blueprint.
- The tasks associated with the current status will change as per the blueprint.
- Click Map.
- Navigate to a project and click on the Task module.
- Click in the top right in the classic view.
- Select Dissociate Blueprint.
- Click Dissociate. The tasks in the project are no longer associated with the blueprint.
Blueprints are grouped based on the Task Layouts. They will be executed in the order in which they are listed in the grouping. You may reorder the blueprints if required.
- Drag and drop the blueprints in the order you want them to be executed.
- The first blueprint in the ordering will be applied to the tasks that match the blueprint criteria. If the blueprint criteria don't match, the next blueprint whose criteria matches the tasks will be executed.
Clone a Blueprint
- Hover over the blueprint you want to clone and click .
- Click Clone and confirm your action. Name your blueprint after cloning.
Delete a Blueprint
- Hover over the blueprint you want to delete and click .
- Click Delete and confirm your action.
Enable or Disable a Blueprint
A blueprint is enabled by default when it is created. You can disable a blueprint so that the tasks do not enter the blueprint process. To disable, just uncheck the Enabled checkbox.
You cannot delete a blueprint while there are tasks active in the process. In this case, you can disable the blueprint.