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While trying to deploy an approval process with the Salesforce Migration Tool, I get the following error:

The approval process references the workflow action FieldUpdate Some_Field_Update, which doesn't exist for the Some_Custom_Object__c object

From what I understand, the approval process cannot be deployed because it depends on a field update, which does not exist in the target org. This particular field update is not part of any Workflow, so how does one deploy a field update in this scenario?

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Perhaps there is a better way to do this, but I ended up creating fake workflows and adding 10 field updates each in order to deploy them. The workflow are left disabled and the conditions should never be met to run them. By deploying these workflow, I was able to deploy the field updates.

0

These field updates action are pulled through the 'Worklfow' metadata.

In my case because if this is an object provided by an installed package it will not show up in Eclipse IDE (and possibly others) and hence you will not be able to select for metadata download.

The workaround is to open the package.xml and add the object as member of the <name>Workflow</name> with the pacakge namespace prefixed, example for the Approval__c in the cms namespace:

...
<types>
    <members>MP_Event_Registrant__c</members>
    <members>MP_Event__c</members>
    <members>MP_Portal_Analytics__c</members>
    <members>cms__Approval__c</members>
    <name>Workflow</name>
</types>
...

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