Status? State? Using Status Flows…

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Sometimes we get questions from customers or prospects on where to find the ServiceNow status flows.
There is no real standard method or development standard available however, but there are some similar terms like “states” and “workflows“.
But that is not what I would like to describe here.

The way we approach status flows is that they are a good way to discuss a number of processes within a company as part of workshops, designs and/ or process definitions.

In the ServiceNow application status flows can be used as a means to functional agreement and the start of configuring a module or process.
Let’s look at an example for incident management that we have used in a number of our implementation projects.


The boxes, or better, the circles define the possible incident states and the green rectangle (smaller) boxes determine whether an SLA gets triggered, paused or closed.
The arrows define the transitions an incident state can undergo, e.g. if the incident state = “New” the next state transition allowed is either “Active” or “Resolved”.

So the states are an easy way to define the route an incident can (or should?!) follow within the incident management process including the escalation to the SLA management process or SLA definitions.

The types and defined states are not limited or mandatory and – as you probably know – very easy to adjust in ServiceNow.
The state flow diagrams can also be applied for other processes or modules like Change- and Problem Management.
Is it mandatory to apply status flows or allow only fixed state transitions?? No, however we recommend any ServiceNow consultant to use it since there are some advantages:

  • It is easy to understand, both for the customer as the ServiceNow consultant
  • It is a good way to discuss the process
  • It is easy to link other processes
  • It is an easy way to start configuration or development
  • It defines the dependencies of states (in the example incident states)
  • It defines the route of a ticket (in the example an incident)

If you look at the example again: once you have defined the status flow for Incident, you only need to add the mandatory fields, the default values, categorizations and notifications and you have a tailored solution for incident management! Voila – and off you go.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on this article. You can reach me at .

P.S. For those who wonder what the difference between “state” and “status” is, just read on……to me it doesn’t make much of a difference J


1.    the condition of a person or thing, as with respect to circumstances or attributes: a state of health.
2.    the condition of matter with respect to structure, form, constitution, phase, or the like: water in a gaseous state.
3.    status, rank, or position in life; station: He dresses in a manner befitting his state.
4.    the style of living befitting a person of wealth and high rank: to travel in state.
5.    a particular condition of mind or feeling: to be in an excited state.
6.    an abnormally tense, nervous, or perturbed condition: He’s been in a state since hearing about his brother’s death.



1.    the position of an individual in relation to another or others, esp. in regard to social or professional standing.
2.    state or condition of affairs: Arbitration has failed to change the status of the disagreement.

2 Responses to “Status? State? Using Status Flows…”

  1. Simon Morris Says:

    Hi guys,

    Great article.. I wrote a response but it was too large for the comments field on the blog 🙂

    You can read it here

    Keep up the good work

  2. Jaco van der Niet Says:

    Hi Simon

    Thanks for you comments or should I say additions, very usefull extra info. To bad it was to long for our blog. It is great heaving a sort of model or list to discuss, it really makes thing easier when engaging clients. I also like the part about the sub-states however you should be carefull not to use to much sub-sub-sub states as you will loose all overview. Keep it simple as you are also stating

    Thanks and kind regards, any additions are more then welcome.

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