SPD Workflows Error Intermittently in SharePoint 2013 Online


  • I have some 2010 SPD list workflows that are running on SharePoint 2013 online lists. These workflows include a Wait function to make sure the data they need has been updated in the list and then a 3 minute pause to give SharePoint Online time to update a Task list so the workflow can find the item it needs to update. There are multiple copies of the workflow on multiple lists. It will run without error 20 times, but occasionally it will error. The error says: The workflow could not update the item, possibly because one or more columns for the item require a different type of information.

    I have read that you can adjust the "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Workflow Timer Service” in on-premise SharePoint, but that is obviously not an option in SharePoint Online.

    I would like some suggestions as to what can be done to eliminate these intermittent errors. If you cancel the workflow and start it manually it works as expected every time.

    Appreciate any feedback.

    • Edited by Ibis Dev Wednesday, January 18, 2017 4:41 PM
    Wednesday, January 18, 2017 4:40 PM


All replies

  • Hi Ibis- could be text too long for the field type (over 255 characters) or could be the workflow is updating a couple items at the same time. See the following link for complete details:

    cameron rautmann

    • Marked as answer by Ibis Dev Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:12 PM
    Wednesday, January 18, 2017 4:59 PM
  • Cameron,

    The Workflow went through two waits and a pause and then it failed when it tried to do the update. There is another workflow that updates this same task item. In the real world the two would occur far apart, but in testing they are cramming through the process and could very well be completing the task before the first workflow has completed. I will put a condition and a wait to make sure the field that is being updated by the first workflow has been set before the second runs. Or I guess I could combine the two workflows. It is just a name field so its not too long, but it is possible the two could run at the same time, I can check the history and will report back.

    Thanks for quick response.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017 5:57 PM
  • I think that is the answer. In the test they are starting and completing the tasks very quickly and when the two workflows run at the same time one or the other errors. If they run separately no errors. Thanks for the answer and the link. This will be a big help to stabilize this application. I will double check the other lists and workflows to make sure similar relationships don't exist elsewhere.

    Ibis Dev

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:12 PM
  • Hi Ibis Dev,

    It is very happy that you have found the workaround.

    Thank you for your sharing and it will help others have the same issue.

    Best regards,

    Sara Fan

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
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    Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:54 AM