Steps towards determining the happy flow

If you want to jump on the digitalization train, you will quickly find that it’s key to define your own process before turning it into an application. An effective way to do this is by asking the right questions. In this new blog series, we will guide you through this process step by step – starting with the happy flow!

What is a happy flow?

What does your process look like when everything goes the way it should? If you answer this question, you will get grip on the core of your process. We call this the happy flow. This is the most important thing to know about your process because it will keep your initial digitalization project small, completed on time and it will prevent loads of double work. But how to go about it?

Start at the end

If you first describe the end – or, the desired outcome – of a process, it’s much easier to define its starting point as well. The end result could be a quote or a document of approval. The next step is the starting point. The latter can be an employee taking initial action, a customer submitting a request, or a supplier specifying a certain need, for example. Whatever the specifics of your situation may be, it’s important to first determine your end result and starting point, respectively.

Determine the in-between steps

Now, it’s crucial to keep asking questions about the process, so you can fill in the gaps and reveal the in-between steps. By doing so you visualize both the happy flow and the exceptions in your process. The easiest way is to use a whiteboard or a notebook, so it’s easy to connect the dots and visualize your process.

Components of the happy flow

There’s no need to do this chronologically; simply jot down every step or action you believe to be standard and important to the process.


Whenever you feel that you’re describing an exception rather than a rule – for example, a step that’s only relevant if the amount involved exceeds 10.000 euros – you simply write them down on the exceptions list, you will need them in another stage.

Create the entire flow

Once you’ve distilled all the standard important process steps, list them chronologically on a piece of paper. That’s your happy flow: a useful overview that provides insight into your process. This will serve as the framework for the first version of the application you want to create. When this application is tested and approved you can decide if and where you want to add steps from the exceptions list.

Curious about other important questions you should be asking? In our next blog, we’ll tell you how to use this approach to reveal the bottle necks.

Author: Rutger Boomars

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