Setting up approvals

Jira Service Desk allows you to add an approval step to any status on your project's workflows, and this step means that when a request hits this status, an approver will be notified that they need to approve or decline the request from the customer portal. If you set up the approval step so that the request can only be approved or declined, the approver needs to make their decision to progress the request. If the status has more than two outgoing transitions, only two of these can be used for Approve or Decline, the additional transitions can be actioned by an agent. This is useful in the case of exceptions, for example if a request is urgent and can't wait for the approver, it's useful to have another method to progress the request.

Approvers view in the customer portal

On this page:

Here's how it works:

  • A customer creates a request on the customer portal, and selects the approver required by entering the user name or email address
  • The approver receives an email notification that they have a pending approval when the request enters the approval status, they can view and action the request through the customer portal
  • The approver either declines or approves the request, and can add an optional comment
  • If declined, the request moves to the next status, and if a comment is added the customer will receive an email notification
  • If approved, the request moves to the next status in the workflow and an agent is able to work on it, and if a comment is added the customer will receive an email notification

Alternatively, you can hide the approver field from the customer, and set up a defined list of approvers that are required for that request type.

If you set up your approval step on a status with only two outgoing transitions, they will be used for Decline and Approve. In this case, agents can view requests that require approval, and can modify the approver if required, but they can't change the status until the approver has actioned the request. If you set up the approval step on a status which has more than two transitions, an agent will be able to transition the request using any of the other transitions that aren't defined as the Approve or Decline transitions. This means the approval step is not enforced.

In certain situations, you may even want to add additional approval steps, for example if a request needs to be approved by your manager first, and then approved by your finance department. Below are some examples of how you might use approvals:

Request type Approval field Approver Notes
Office equipment Visible on customer portal Customer selects approver. The customer should select their manager for approval, as each customer could have a different manager.
Computer software Hidden from customer portal Set list of approvers. You set the list of approvers, this could be several members of your finance team.
Flights Two approval steps, one visible, one hidden First approver is selected by customer, second approver is a set list. The customer can select the first approver, which could be their manager who approves the business case for their trip. The second approver is from a set list (maybe a finance team) that approves the payment of the flights.

Setting up an approval step

To set up an approval step on a workflow for your project, you need to have the Jira administrator 

global permission.

Here are the steps to get approvals working for your project:

  • Jira Service Desk creates the Approvers custom field automatically. If you want to use another field, make sure you have a user picker custom field available in your Jira instance and on the screens used by your project - this is used on the approval step
  • Add the same user picker custom field to your request type if you want your customers to choose the approver - this will provide the field for your request that allows an approver to be selected
  • Configure the approvals step on the workflow - this allows you to decide if you require one or multiple approvers, and what happens when the approval is declined or approved

Detailed steps onsetting up an approval are available in the Jira administration documentation.

How do I make this even more awesome for my customers?

You can make the approval process more awesome by making some simple customizations to your service desk project, and that means both you and your customers have a better experience.

  • Make sure you make the name of your multi-user picker custom field customer friendly on your request, and add a useful help tip, like how many approvers may be required. This will help ensure your customers provide all the correct information first time. Read up on customizing the fields of your requests for more information on how to do this.
  • When the approval of a request is declined, consider closing the request straight away. This means that if you're setting up a custom approval step, you should ensure that the transition you select for decline leads to a status in the Done category, and the transition has a post function to set the resolution status.
                                           Workflow showing Declined transition leading to Declined status in the Done category
  • It's good practice for your approvers to add a comment telling the customer why their request has been declined, and what their next steps should be, for example the customer should open a new request and provide more information regarding their requirements. A customer won't be automatically informed when a request has been declined or approved, but they will be notified of any comments added to the request.

Approval FAQs

Why isn't the field I added to my approval step showing on my customer portal?

Make sure you've added the user picker custom field that's used in the approval step on the workflow to your request type, and it's visible to customers. If it's still not showing, or it's not listed as a field you can add to your requests, check with your Jira administrator to ensure the field is still available on your project's issue screens.

Declined requests are still showing as open in my service desk project, but they're status shows as Done.

A request will only show as closed when the resolution has been set, so the transition you use to decline the request needs to also set the resolution field. You can achieve this by adding a post function to the transition in your workflow that sets the resolution field of your request. You read up more on post functions on the administration  advanced workflow page.

How do I add, edit or remove approvers on a request?

If you need to change the approvers on a request for any reason, you need to edit the user picker custom field that was added in the approval step. View the request in your service desk project, and the editable user picker custom field is displayed in the People section of the request. You can make any changes you need to make inline. Note that there is also an Approval section that lists all approvers, however you can't make any edits here.

If the field isn't showing, you may need to get a Jira administrator to check the field is still available on your project screens.

How do my customers know who to add as an approver?

Make sure you add descriptive titles and help text for the approvals field on your portal. This should include details on who the customer should add (such as their manager, or a member of their IT team), and how many approvers. Depending on your customer access settings, your customers may be able to select users or other customers from a drop-down list. Take this into account when adding your title and help text.

Last modified on Oct 8, 2018

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