System Center 2012 SP1 RTM - hints, tips, tricks and troubleshooting
Service Manager - some thoughts around emailing Review Activity Details and the Exchange Connector
There is a great article by Travis - here- "Using Data Properties From the Parent Work Items in Activity Email Templates"
The idea is two fold:
1) That when a Review Activity, that is part of a Change Request, goes "In Progress", the reviewers get an email providing the details of the Change Request. So you need details of the Parent Work Item (the Change Request) in the notification that is triggered by the the Review Activity changing status.
2) That by leveraging the Exchange Connector, the reviewers can email back email approval \ rejection of the Review Activity,
The article works well in most situations but we found a couple of limitations:
- You can't use email enabled security groups as reviewers. Although this works for sending out the email, the Exchange Connector needs to match the email address to a reviewer. This just doesn't work if the Reviewer is a group.
- It doesn't work for Parallel Activities as it adds another relationship to the Review Activity \ Change Request.
We wanted to be able to leverage mail enabled AD groups to assign Reviewers to Review Activities to facilitate maintenance of Reviewers over time. We also wanted to be able to use Service Manager notifications to email out when a Review Activity went In Progress and to receive approvals and rejections from the reviewers.
Read More for all the details
Our first attempt at this uses Orchestrator. We are actually looking to actually improve this and be able to run it all as a workflow within Service Manager ... stay tuned for updates on that.
1) Monitor for new Change Requests - I have used an example of a New Change Request triggering the workflow to add the members of a designated AD security group as reviewers of the review activity. You can obviously tailor this for specific types or categories of Change Request and if you have multiple review activities then you can look to choose the specific one to add the reviewers to.
2) The link just passes Minor Change Requests ...
3) We get the Change Request Object
4) We get the relationship from our Change Request to our Review Activity
5) We get our AD group - I have created a variable in Service Manager to store the list of the various groups we use
6) We enumerate the AD Users in the group
7) We get the User Object from Service Manager
8) We create Reviewer Objects
9) We associate out Users as Reviewers
10) We email out the Change Request details to the Reviewers of the Review Activity and include the Review Activity ID in the body so that the Reviewers can approve \ reject the Change Request
To make this work for parallel activities, we just need to add an extra few activities at the beginning. I have used the Monitor Object Activity from the example above but this time with a link that looks for Major Change Requests which have a Parallel Activity where Management and Technical Teams need to review and approve.
From the Get Major Change Request Activity we need to get the relationship from the Change Request to the Parallel Activity
And from there get the actual Parallel Activity
From there get the relationship from the Parallel Activity to the associated Review Activities
And from there get the actual Review Activities
And then use the links to identify which is the Management Approval Activity (I've done it via the Review Activity Title)