40+FAB Blog

The happy path

I learnt a principle from the design of processes and software programmes.  The ideal outcome or “perfect world” situation was always the backbone of the design, this is also known as the “Happy Path”.
Take for instance the use of a cash machine. The happy path goes like this – you slot in your card, type in your pin, select £1000, press enter and voila! The money dances out to the tune of the machine flapping paper notes. What an awesome feeling!
Maybe your happy path is – go to uni at 17, graduate at 21, start a job immediately, marry the perfect partner at 25, have 3 children by 30, own a company at 35, become a millionaire at 40, retire at 55, enjoy amazing life thereafter. that’s great!

Though it is important to base the design on the happy path, the process or programme would never work or be considred complete without working out what was called the exceptions. The world is not perfect and things will go wrong, so what should be done when that happens?
Dealing with exceptions is all about mitigating any possible situation that would take you off the journey on the happy path and redirecting things back on track. Doing this made the happy path not just a fantasy, but a reality. So you didn’t own the company at 35, and retirement looks more like 65. What are  your readjustments to still enjoy that amazing life?

Work out how to deal with the exceptions to your happy path and build the necessary detours from those back routes back onto the happy path.