Over the years, I’ve come across the issue of the missing workflow status column a number of time and I really had no idea why that happened. On one list, a workflow would run and the column would get created and updated, while on another list, the column would never appear.
In all my cases, it turned out to be a configuration in my web application for List View Lookup Threshold. By default, SharePoint has this set to 8. What this means, is that if you have 8 lookup-type columns (lookup, person/group, managed metadata or workflow status column), then any other lookup-type columns will not appear. You can ofcourse increase this value to something higher.
To see the current List View Lookup Threshold value, navigate to Central Administration > Manage Web Applications, click on your web application and select Resource Throtling from the General Settings ribbon drop down:
You can see that in my test environment, the default value is set to 8:
To test this out, I changed the value to 3. This should mean that the list only allows 3 lookup-type fields.
I created a list with a Lookup field and a Person field.
On this list, I also designed 2 very simple workflows, “Workflow1” and “Workflow2”.
I ran both workflows and they both succeeded.
The first workflow status column appears, but the second one did. If I look at the workflow history, you can see both workflows ran:
If you find that the workflow status column is not appearing, update the Resource Throttling page and increase the List View Lookup Threshold. I did find that even if you increase the threshold and rerun the second workflow, the status column will not be created.
If anyone knows how to get SharePoint to create that column, let me know :).
The only thing I could come up with, is to rename the current workflow, publish it and run it. Then SharePoint will create that new column.