January 28th, 2019 by inflectra
As we're in the final countdown for the release of the latest version of SpiraTest, SpiraTeam and SpiraPlan v6.0, we are going to be highlighting some of the most important new features in this version to help you get ready for the release. In the second installment of the blog series on the new version we'll be discussing the new document management features, including workflows, and check-in / check-out functionality.
In the newly redesigned Spira administration console, we have added a new customization option - to edit and manage document statuses:
Previously, documents in Spira were attached to artifacts, organized into folders, and could be assigned to various configurable types, but there was no concept of a workflow. In Spira 6.0 we have now introduced document workflows and therefore the foundation of that is the ability to have documents exist in various statuses (or states) which can be customized for each project template:
Each document status can be specified as being either an "open" status or not. When a document is considered "open", it will be listed in the new Assigned Documents widget and when we add a planning board in the future, it will be displayed there as well. Once a document is "closed" it generally means no more active work needs to happen on it.
The document management workflow engine in Spira 6.0 is based on the same approach we have used for other artifacts in the system (requirements, test cases, tasks, incidents, and releases) where you have a set of customizable document types:
Each of these document types can then be associated with a workflow. Each type need not have a unique workflow, it can in fact just share a common workflow (as illustrated above):
Each workflow will consist of a set of steps (statuses) and transitions (actions). You will be able to add steps, and add / delete / modify the transitions between the steps:
For example, if we look at the sample Check Out transition, you will that it has the following settings:
You will be able to specify which user and roles can change the status of the document by executing the transition and also specify if they need to submit an electronic signature to make the change (this is need for some of our FDA-regulated customers working in the life sciences industry).
When the end user wants to change the status of document, they simply use the convenient dropdown menu next to the current status to change the document to the new state (for example moving a document from draft to under-review)
In this example, we will be asked to assign the document to an editor who will get an email letting them know that they have a document to review.
Spira 6.0 provides a brand new widget on the My Page that lets users see any documents that have been assigned to them for review:
They will be able to also keep track of their assigned documents using the handy RSS feed option or simply wait for the emails sent from the Spira notification system.
Once they are ready to review the document, they can choose to approve or reject it. Depending on the workflow, they may be asked to add a comment or upload a newer version of the document:
Once the document has been approved, it will be ready for publishing. For example you can then move the document to the Completed status and all its fields will be marked as read-only, and only the active (final) version will be visible.
One additional feature that we have added in Spira 6.0 is the ability to formally check-in and check-out a document. If you choose the new Checkout option from the workflow:
Then the workflow will mark the Versions field as disabled. This tells Spira that you cannot upload a new version in this status until you are ready to check it back in. This prevents other users from uploading their own versions when it is checked out to another user.
In the Spira document management user interface, you will see that the document is marked as checked out, assigned to a specific user (editor), and the Versions tab does not let you add any new versions.
When the user then uses the new Check-In workflow operation:
The system will now prompt the user to add a comment describing their new Check-In, and they need to upload their updated version of the document that is being checked-in:
That's all on project templates, the next topic for our Spotlight series will be the new Risk Management features that have been added to SpiraPlan 6.0.