Just because the Action Set action doesn't actually do anything at runtime, I really don't think Workflow Designers should discriminate against it. It really didn't do anything to deserve this. :)
I strongly believe that is one of the most useful actions, and also the most under-utilized.
I have seen a variety of complex, large (better described as HUGE) workflows in the past. My own feel for workflow design, is similar to development. In development, you don't want one method to be monstrously long. Later, it'll be hard to understand and modify, let alone refactor. The same goes for workflow design. If you create a large workflow, you are setting yourself up for possibly failure in the future. This is even more important if you have many approvals. If something fails in the workflow near the end of the flow, then the only way to get it to work, is to fix the issue and restart it. This means everyone who approved this before, will have to do it all over again.
In this blog, I want to focus on Nintex Workflow design, when you have a large workflow. The designer makes it easier for you work with your workflow. Much easier than SharePoint Designer. But if your workflow gets very large, then bring out the 52" LCD monitor and a decent video card.
Bring on the Action Set action from Nintex Worklow. Although the action itself doesn't do anything at run time, at design time it's invaluable.
Here is a large workflow that I just whipped up, and what I can see on my 15" laptop screen.
As you can see, when I reload this workflow in the future, I'm going to be doing a lot of scrolling left and right, up and down.
One option is use the Zoom function in Internet Explorer. Hmm. Well, this is the result of changing my zoom factor to 25%.
Well, I can see my workflow, but I don't think this is useable and I can barely click on the title of any of the actions in my workflow.
In comes the Action Set. I add an Action Set action (located in the Logic and Flow group of actions), to each of my Swtich options in my workflow.
Now what I do, is drag my actions into the Action Set (onto the pearl that is pointed to by the red arrow).
I can then click on the title of each Action Set action, and select Minimize from the drop down menu.
Note, that I also clicked on the title of each Action Set action, and chose Edit Labels, and gave each action a little more descriptive label.
Now, if there is an issue with this workflow in the future, I can find out which part it's actually having a problem, maximize that Action Set, and it'll be easier for me to work with.
Don't forget to use this in your future workflow designs. Even if it doesn't help you personally, anyone who takes over your workflows in the future, they'll love you for it.
One thing to remember with Action Sets. If you click on the title, you'll see in the drop down that you can save that Action Set as a Snippet. Another handy thing to do, if you want to minimize workflow design in the future, by having reusable workflow components.