Happy Path Project Planning

Chuck Boecking


The purpose of this post is to help you create ‘Happy Path User Case Scenario’ document. It is quite possibly the most important document that you will create when evaluating systems. Please take the effort to create one! The purpose of the happy path document is to capture your company’s operations in an concise and easy-to-read format. You will use this document extensively during the evaluation and go live process. Here are some details that describe the happy path:

  • It is an outline (bullet list)
  • Every sentence begins with ‘User’ or ‘System’, for example:
    • User receives call from prospect
    • User creates quote
    • System routes quote to manager for approval
    • User …
  • It is OK to replace ‘User’ with the name of a Role
  • It encapsulates 80% of your company’s operations. If you are a larger company (say over $100M USD) or a diverse company, then you might have more than one happy path.
  • It is no longer than 2 pages! This is a very important fact. If it grows beyond two pages, the document becomes hard to user, learn, update, etc…
  • The person creating the first draft may not know everything. Do your best. Your team will refine it over time.
  • You will use this document to help choose the best system (ERP) by communicating the most important needs in an order that is logical and easy to follow.

Here is an example happy path:

  • Sales Rep receives request for service
  • Sales Rep creates lead and opportunity in system
  • Sales Rep create a Request for site survey
  • Site Surveyor updates Request and sends it back to Sales Rep
  • Sales Rep create Quote
  • Sales Rep create quote Request for approval from Sales Manager
  • Sales Manager approves Request/Quote and sends Request back to Sales Rep
  • Sales Rep send Quote to customer
  • Customer accepts Quote
  • Sales Rep send Request to Project Manager to start a new project
  • Project Manager creates Project from template (copies phases and lines) – see example template here…
  • Project Manager iterates on Project line items – Example
    • Project Manager sends Request to Construction to get city approval to dig on site
    • Construction receives approval and attaches the scanned approval to the Request
    • System updates the Project Line per the status of the Request
  • etc…