Building a Multi-step Approval Process

Recently, one of our coaching clients asked about building a multi-step approval process inside of Airtable. While there are several ways that someone could go about building this, they all rely on the same two building blocks. In brief, you’ll want to include a table to track the Process and then connect that to the Approvals. Once you’ve linked these two tables, you’ll be able to then build a variety of outcomes from that linked relationship.

In this video, I assume that there are multiple approvals required before an “agreement” can be marked as “complete.” The most common misuse that I see is for clients to build only a single table that includes multiple fields to be checked off. So, for example, a one-table solution that includes three different checkbox fields for various stages of approval. This solution might work in a static setting, but if the required approval varies, this doesn’t offer a dynamic system that can flex as needed.

This two-table solution, by contrast, allows there to be a dynamic number of required approvals. From there, with help from some logic and formulas, we can create a system that records the completion status when all linked ‘approvers’ sign off.

In more advanced use-cases, it’s possible to build automations to support this structure. For example, depending on the type of agreement, it might then create the corresponding records that are required for approval. This would use the same underlying structure, but would require additional tools (like Zapier or Integromat) in order to build the automated processes.

Life is too short to fight with spreadsheets

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