Sharing the Story Solution

Make up a story when you go to sleep tonight
Wake up in the morning
And hold it down deep inside
And you can be a dreamer
You can be your dreams come true
Let imagine lead, reality will follow through

Michael Hedges, “Follow Through”.

I have developed a new approach to SharePoint form development. After watching users struggle with complex forms I have broken forms into the following components:

Instructions (Static Unstructured Data)

The Story (Unstructured Data)

The Facts (Structured Data)

Tasks (Approvals)

Instructions can be placed on a Page. No need to have this on the form as it can be referenced at any point.

The Story can be placed in a document library and linked to in the form. This allows the story to be in any format agreed upon. Word Documents, PowerPoint Decks, Email Messages, Whiteboards, and video. Users can create their story as they wish and share with others using the functionality of Document Libraries.

The Facts can be captured in a SharePoint list. The Facts include the dates, numbers, status, tracking number, etc. Consider using the Task Content Type as this Content Type generates an email to the Assigned To column. In effect creating a one stage workflow.

Tasks are the Approvals. I use a separate Content Type for each of the Approval Tasks. I link the Approval Tasks to the associated Facts item. By separating the tasks from a rigid workflow design tasks can be created without sequence. Only as many tasks are needed can be created in effect modularizing workflow. Once again I use the Task Content Type for workflow messaging.