To my knowledge it is currently (in SDL Tridion 2011) not possible to update a workflow definition while it still has active process instances. Isn't this a big problem for many organizations? How do they typically work around this?

Also, does anyone happen to know if this issue is tackled in SDL Tridion 2013?

  • 1
    This has been quite a frustrating problem that we have had for a long time. We often see that many items remain in workflow for a long period of time, either because editors are still working on the content, and it hasn't yet been released for approval, or simply because editors have forgotten to finish activity and so on. Updating the process definitions is real pain, as usually any work to change the definitions has to be scheduled in and workflow instances cleared to ensure that no active process instances exist. I'd be interested to see how other organizations approach this. Feb 22, 2013 at 9:43

3 Answers 3


It is the same in SDL Tridion 2013. There's no real problem as you can just create a copy of your process definition, update it and switch to it. Your existing process instances will continue with current process, but new will be created with updated process definition. After all of the running processes will complete - you can delete old process definition

  • Thanks, that's the kind of work-around I was looking for. Still, it would be better if Tridion handled this itself by allowing different versions of a workflow definition to be active at the same time (where new process instances always get the latest version of course).
    – Quirijn
    Feb 22, 2013 at 9:51
  • @Quirijn This would never workout. Imagine someone changed the process definition and removed currently active activity, what would happen if you will try to finish activity? Solution would be to have versions on process definitions, but I think the effort will not justify result Feb 22, 2013 at 10:01
  • I think we are trying to say the same thing, Tridion should support multiple concurrent versions of the same process definition. I can't judge how much effort it will be, I don't work for Tridion R&D.
    – Quirijn
    Feb 22, 2013 at 10:25

I agree that this would be a great feature. As user978511 suggests this won't work - until Process Definitions become a VersionedItem. That is probably a good ER or suggestion for ideas.sdltridion.com


As others have answered: you can't, and it can often be problematic to update workflow definitions in production.

During development, you often have more freedom to slash and burn, but even so, this restriction can be awkward. My experience is that when you are doing the development work, it's very useful to have a script that just finishes everything. Unfortunately I don't have a core service version yet, but anyone doing this kind of work might still find the following useful.


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