Can anyone help please? I get the below error when trying to deploy some changes to live and it appears that one of our flows that we recently built using process builder is causing the problem but I cannot understand the error and don't know what the fix is. Does anyone have any ideas on how to resolve this please?

Thanks in advance for your help:


first error: UNKNOWN_EXCEPTION, The record couldn’t be saved because it failed to trigger a flow.
java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: unable to find field dataType for complex reference
unable to find field dataType for complex reference
Contact your administrator for help.: []

  • The workaround is to deactivate the process builder that is causing the issue and deploy your changes Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 21:07
  • Thanks but that's not a solution to the problem. I am aware that deactivating the flows would allow the deployment to succeed but I have a limited window of time to do this and I don't want to be deactivating and reactivating flows for every deployment. Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 21:13
  • Since process builder is still a beta version you encounter a lot of issues even salesforce upgrade for some of these issues is in 2016 releases. Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 21:18
  • I am dealing with the same issue, and am going down that road to add the bypasss flow criteria. I'm not a developer...how do I know where in the code to add the line item of bypass flow = true?
    – user28626
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 14:34

3 Answers 3


Try something like this:

Create a checkbox field like Bypass_Flow__c on Contact, opportunity and the objects which your flow is using

On your test class which is failing add this on contact,Opportunity and all objects for which test data is created.

Bypass_Flow__c = true;

Now on the Process Builder add this condition:

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  • Thank you very much for your suggested workaround - the problem was that the error was occurring even before it got into the criteria of the flow so this suggested solution didn't work for us. We decided to just deactivate the flows that were causing the deployment to fail, perform the deployment and then reactivate them. Thanks again for your comments and help - I appreciate it. Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 9:50

Our solution to this problem was to deactivate the flows that the deployment was failing on, perform the deployment and then reactivate the flows again. Not ideal for us but it's the only solution that we could come up with to get around the problem.


We added a user role "Bypass Automation" Then in each Process Builder the first criteria is Criteria: User Role = Bypass Automation Immediate Action = Do Nothing (Apex Class)

Then it's as easy as changing the role of the user in the target Org to "Bypass Automation" No Process builders will run

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