Tag Archives: Update

SharePoint Designer Workflow Intermittently Fails to Update an Item in Another List

SharePoint Designer Workflow Intermittently Fails to Update an Item in Another List

Symptom: Workflows periodically fail with the following error message in the Workflow History Log:

The workflow could not update the item, possibly because one or more columns for the item require a different type of information

Possible Data Causes

The data used in the update is invalid, such as putting text in a number field or not providing a value for a required field.

The data used in the update does not provide a unique value in a field that requires unique values.

The data string used in the update is too long, such as putting a string that is more than 255 characters in a field with a data type of “single line of text”

Workaround: Compare the data type and validation rules between the two lists to find the mismatch. You might also add one or more Log to History steps to capture the value of certain fields prior to the Update step. Correct the validation rules in the list from which the data is being transferred to match the validation rules in the list receiving the update.

Possible Permissions Cause

The workflow initiator does not have the level of permissions required to perform the list update. In this case, you may see that some initiators always have their workflows complete, while other initiators always have their workflows fail.

Workaround: In a 2010 Workflow, use an impersonation step to have the update complete using the permissions of the workflow author. In a 2013 Workflow, use an App Step to allow the update to be performed with App level permissions, which allows read and write access to all items on the site.

Possible Performance Cause

On updates that require complex data manipulation or lookups, or updates that require a secondary workflow to complete before the next step in the current workflow, the workflow may error out if the dependent actions have not yet completed when the workflow attempts the Update action. This may also be a problem with high numbers of simultaneous workflow initiations or in environments with known bandwidth issues.

Workaround: Add a step to pause for X number of seconds to allow the dependent actions to complete before attempting the Update step.

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