The success of a project often depends on the measures and controls put in place to govern the project. PPO caters for this requirement through its Approval functionality, allowing approvals to be created for time entries; documents; project stage gates; scope changes, and more.

This article covers:

Types and examples

Various types of approvals are available:
This article deals exclusively with approvals on projects and project-related entities

Examples of approvals on other entities include:
  • allow Business Cases and other documents to be approved on-line;
  • allow a formal Stage Gate process to be followed including single or multiple approvals by review committee members;
  • allow project Sponsors and Owners to approve Scope Changes by simply approving from their Home Pages.

Using approvals

Approvals can be created on any item on PPO. Approval records are added based on a trigger or event within PPO, such as when a document is added, a project is added or a scope change is added. When the item is added, it automatically inherits the required approvals for the item. Based on the client's requirements, a single approval or multiple approvals can be added.
Once approval is required on the item, the user can access the necessary approval record and submit it for approval.
When the approval is submitted, the approval status will change from Pending to Ready and will now appear on the approver's Home Page. The approver will also be notified via e-mail that an item requires their approval.
By selecting the approval record, the approver will then be able to view the details of the submitted item and will have the option to Approve or Decline the item.
If Declined
If the approval is declined, the approver will be required to specify a note indicating the reasons for the item being declined:
The approval record will then appear on the originator’s Home Page, showing its Declined status. The originator is typically the Project Manager or the person who originally submitted the item - this can be specified when setting up the approvals functionality.
The originator then has the opportunity to rework the item, based on the approver's comments. Once ready, the originator can access the approval record and resubmit the item for approval. The approver will be notified again and can re-evaluate the item.
If Approved
Various actions can occur once the first approver approves an item. If multiple approvals are required in sequence, the next approval record will automatically be marked as Ready and will appear on the next approver's Home Page (this is generally the case for Document approvals with multiple approvers as shown below).
When the last approval record is approved, the status is automatically set to "Approved", or the project's phase can be moved to the next phase, based on the requirement and rules supplied.

Validation rules when setting up approvals

In order for the approvals process to function properly, several validation rules are set up in conjunction with the approvals. These validation rules include: 
  1. The item cannot be edited while waiting for approval (i.e. while an approval status is "Ready") - This ensures that the item submitted for approval is the same item viewed by the approver and that no changes have been made between the time the item was submitted and the time the item is reviewed.
  2. The item cannot be edited after it has been approved - This ensures that the approved item is not altered after the approval. This rule may not be required in the case of stage gate approvals, where the project is moved to the next phase but the project can still be edited until the project ends.
  3. Approvals must be submitted in sequence - This rule will not be applicable if there is only one approval required or if approvals can be approved in parallel, but is specifically applicable to stage gate approvals. This rule ensures that approvals are submitted in the correct order (i.e. that the execution phase is not approved before the initiation phase).
When setting up approvals, the PPO Support Team will configure the above validation rules as required. 

Approve for others and administer approvals

There are two user group settings associated with approvals.  User Groups can be found by hovering over the Administration menu.
Approval Administration

The 'Approval Administration' function allows PPO Administrators to override or correct approvals without going through the normal approvals process. Care should be taken when awarding this functionality to users as it will allow them to add, edit and delete approvals.

When a user has access to administer approvals, they will see the Approvals entity when hovering over the Projects menu.

When on an Approval View page, the user will see the action menu and edit button:


This action menu allows the administrator to delete the approval,  add a new approval, view the approvals list or see the related item. The edit button allows the administrator to edit the approval record.

We strongly recommend that users NOT add approvals manually, but rather contact the PPO Support Team for assistance in setting up an automated approvals process.

The Approval Administration functionality and the direct editing of approvals should only be used in exceptional cases when a fix is required. The administrator also needs to be aware of business rules that will be kicked off as a result of the update. If in doubt, please contact the PPO Support Team who will be able to assist you.

Approve for Others

This setting allows users to access the home pages of approvers and approve items on the approvers' behalf. This is useful for situations where an approver is on extended leave or unable to access the system due to time constraints, but they authorise an administrator to mark the item as approved or declined on their behalf in order for work to continue.

Setting up approvals

To set up an automated approvals process, submit a ticket from the PPO Support Portal and specify the following:

  1. The entity on which the approval should occur (for example, on Documents; on Projects; on Scope Changes).
  2. The items that require approval (for example, only Business Case type documents; only full Life Cycle type projects).
  3. The number of approvers / approval records per item.
  4. The approvers (The approvers can be specified on a project or entity level, for example, the project manager, project sponsor, scope change manager, or it can be calculated to be a specific person for all approvals, for example, the PMO manager).
  5. The originator (This is the person who will need to rework the item if the approval is declined. Examples are: the project manager, the person who originally loaded the item).
  6. Whether the approvals should be done in sequence or not. If a sequence is required, specify the sequence.
  7. What should happen when all approvals are approved (for example, the project should move to the next phase; the document status should change to approved).

Once the PPO Support Team has all of this information, they will be able to assist with the set up of the approvals process.

Updating the approver field on non-approved records

If the approval records have been added and the approver changes, the records can be automatically updated with a new approver, by means of a business rule. For example, if Joe Bloggs is the approver, and he is on leave, and the records now need to be approved by Jane Branch, you don’t want to manually update all the approval records, so this can easily be updated by means of a business rule.

If you need assistance in setting this up, please feel free to log a support call and the support team will gladly assist you.

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