>>Making my life easier with Flow.
>>What is the problem?
My problem was that we had users emailing me a list of bugs that were found during testing or use of one of our Mobile Apps. That got kind of messy when it came to sorting them out and keeping track of them. I found Microsoft Planner, which is a Kanban based Task Management system offered by Microsoft. This was fine for a while I would copy and paste the issues in the required Planner and track them that way. That was fine for a while but I wanted a way to do this automatically. This is where Flow and Forms come in.
>> The Solution.
My Solution to this problem consisted of 3 parts,
- Microsoft Forms to take in the Bugs from the users.
- Microsoft Planner to store the tasks that I can manage accordingly in the Kanban System.
- Microsoft Flow to tie it all together and make the automation possible.
>>How I did it.
First of all lets start with Forms. I wanted it too be easy for our users to be able to submit bugs and not have the need to create and manage more accounts. We already have to many as it is! My company currently are heavily invested in the Microsoft 365 environment, so I was able to leverage this and use Forms as it is a quick and simple way to collate the bug reports and I can link them through Flow to automate the adding into the correct Planner.
I started by creating a simple Form with the REQUIRED! “Meeting” theme because that’s the only Techie looking one. Forms is very intuitive and simple to use so I wont bore you all with that explanation but you need to end up with a form that is similar to the below.
With this being a cloud service it is automatically saved when you make changes so don’t spend time looking for that “Save” button.
One thing to note is that under the burger menu on the right hand side, you can find settings that will help you if you require this to be completed by people who are outside of your organisation and therefore don’t have to login. There are also some other useful settings such as “One Response Per person” and have a start and end date, but these aren’t so relevant to this solution.
After Forms was configured I went over to my Planner Kanban Board where I was already using this tool to store and track all development activities. It was a no-brainer this is where I wanted it to go, but its not your only option, if your team uses a service such as VSTS or even just into a SharePoint list this is completely possible.
Like with Forms, Planner is very intuitive to configure and you need to make sure you have a board that you have permissions to create tasks which if you created the board you will have by default and have it look something similar to this below.
Once you have your Form where the bugs will be coming from and your Planner board you want them to go too next we get into the meat of the situation… FLOW.
>>Configuring your Flow.
For anyone who doesn’t know Flow is a great way to automate workflows for cloud services but this video pretty much explains it the best way. Courtesy of Microsoft.
Go to your Flow Dashboard to start creating your new flow workflow. I will be supplying a ZIP file with this post which has this flow already built. All you’ll need to do is change the links and connections within the Flow itself. Also it has been submitted as a template for the approved templates anyway. You can either follow along and build it manually yourself which I suggest just to get familiar with Flow or upload the ZIP provided and make the changes, either way I’m not taking responsibility for what you do with the attached ZIP.
>> Whats inside this Flow?
I’ll keep this brief but supply screenshots for you to follow. This Flow consists of 4 main points. The Action that starts the Flow running is a “New Response is submitted” -> Then it will grab the lists of those responses -> Get the details it needs -> Create the Task in Planner -> For good measure it will post a message into a Teams Channel for them to be notified.
First step is starting when a response is added, this is a Trigger that you need to select the correct Form that you want to track the responses of, mine is named “Bug Report Form”. After this we need the Loop Action which takes each of those Responses and gets the information from the ResponseID.
The Planner stage is next and this takes the ReponseID from the previous action and allows us to Get each Question asked and use its answer as a possible option in our action which in this case is to “Create a new Task”. We chose the Board we want the task to be created on and who we want it to be assigned to automatically, this can be left blank or assigned to a specific users email address. From this you need to make sure you’re choosing the right Plan ID and Bucket so the tasks are added to the correct place.
The last stage is for a message to be posted into a desired Teams Channel letting you know a new bug has been added. This is not required but… Teams is a collaboration tool and everyone should be using it so I added it in 🙂 Make sure you choose the right Team ID, Channel ID and what message you want and you’re good to go.
>> Things to remember and whats next?
Remember that this Flow is being ran from your account on the tenancy. So if you don’t have permissions to do the task creation or talk in the teams channel it will error. Along this same vein, you wont get the notification in the teams channel because it will be you typing it. So it could be good practice to have a dedicated dummy account to run these types of flows for you so you still get the notifications. Forms within Flow is only in preview…. there isn’t a massive amount you can do right now but the possibilities are great.
Next is moving developing the form more so it can have multiple questions asked, this is simple you just need to copy the “Create a Task” section in the Flow and edit it to take the answer from a different question. Adding Numbers along side the added tasks could be good as well so it’s easier to track this. Almost like IDs.
This is a basic Flow that will do what it needs to but there is always room for improvement 🙂 Feel free to leave suggestions and comments.
Here is the Flow Export, I’ve not gone through in this post how to implement these so please use at your own discretion, it’s simple enough though.
Successful Test pictures:
For anyone who is interested here the outcome pictures.