The Small Things Matter: ServiceNow Tips for Users and Developers

servicenow tip

We can’t believe it’s already day seven of Christmas in July. Just three more days of content to go, which is why we’re not wasting any time jumping into today’s giveaway: our ServiceNow Tips and Tricks eBook.

This book not only showcases some unique solutions to common ServiceNow problems but also shares some of our favorite conversations among our developers. Each ServiceNow developer works on unique projects and instances, so they often come across some really interesting issues, hacks, and stories.

When it comes to the tips, anything goes. We’ve had tips geared towards both the user and ServiceNow developers, with implications across CSM, HR, ITOM, SecOps and more. But they all have one thing in common: they center around the idea that the small things matter. Small changes and small fixes are sometimes the perfect solutions to the big problems.

A Look Inside the Book

ServiceNow’s approach to workflow removes bottlenecks and integrates processes and activities between people and the systems that they use… because waiting around for decisions, actions, and responses can be a bottleneck in any business. Of course, each workflow is only as good as its logic and design. Let’s take a look at a few workflow tips and tricks!

How often should you be publishing workflows?

Pay attention. No seriously, pay attention when developing workflows, and publish often. ServiceNow makes it easy on developers by letting them test workflow changes for themselves without needing to publish… but this leads to developers forgetting to publish. Workflow changes are only captured in update sets once published, so keeping a workflow checked out will make the lives of other developers more difficult, having to get the workflow published before they can check it out for themselves.

Okay, but what should I look for when I start workflows?

When editing workflow start conditions, make absolutely sure your new conditions don’t overlap with any existing or legacy task records. You may accidentally kick off a workflow on a previously closed ticket.

How do I see the content of existing workflows?

If you need to see the content of an active workflow’s scratchpad, start by going to workflow, active contexts and then personalize your list view to add the scratchpad field. This can be extremely helpful in debugging workflows while you’re developing them, or making sure start conditions don’t overlap.

Trying to send a plain text notification from a workflow activity? Or maybe you just miss the usual features of a notification?

For this one, let’s walk through the logic. Instead of a workflow notification activity, trigger an event instead. Pass the recipient(s) in the event parameter 1. Then navigate to the advanced view of a notification and configure the notification to fire an event. Finally, toggle the checkbox for “event parameter 1 contains recipient”

Additional tip – configure the table accordingly in the event registry and notification to have access to the record’s variables.

Want your requested items (RITM) to automatically close after your workflow has completed?

Simply add the ‘Completed” stage to the “End” activity in your workflow.

What should you do after you deactivate or lockout users?

Deactivated and locked out users will still receive Approval records, so long as they are defined in a workflow. Make sure to keep approval groups (such as CAB) clean and updated!

Suspect you have bad code (such as current.update())? But don’t actually want to manually look through workflow upon workflow?

Instead of searching through all your workflows, navigate to sys_variable_value table, filter Table = wf_activity and do a contains search for your script (here current.update()) in the Value field. It will pull up any and all trouble makers for you!

Workflows are just one small part of the ServiceNow platform. That’s why there is a strong ServiceNow community, where developers, admins, and users can post questions and share wisdom and a few battle stories. To help you navigate the platform, we have our #NOWTIPS series, plus #NOWTips books. Check out this one, which covers common workflow, email, and date and time field questions.

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