Compounding sub-outcomes

The path's outcome (super-outcome) is a result of smaller outcomes that are produced along the path (sub-outcomes). Those sub-outcomes are made of even smaller outcomes themselves.

So being really, really specific about the changes that need take place to produce the sub-outcomes that result in the desired, bigger super-outcome is a key focus of path design.

Another key focus is designing the smaller outcomes to compound together. It's almost like crafting in Minecraft — you pull together the right resources at the right time and in the right configuration so that you can produce something that's bigger than any of those individual changes on their own.

To identify the sub-outcomes, focus on what absolutely needs to change between starting and resulting situation. For example, if I want to see my son in junior league hockey, I've got to go buy him skates because he doesn't have skates right now. I've got to go buy him the equipment. I've got to go find a junior hockey league. And so on.

The idea is to:

  1. Identify the changes that have to absolutely have to take place.
  2. Consider the order in which they need to happen. Organize the changes in way that completing step one makes success with next more likely.
  3. Position your resources (within the app and outside of it) to provide progress boosts at every point of change.

If you can identify the necessary compounding sub-outcomes between the starting point and the resulting point, you have a "critical pathway" — version 1 of the path.

From: VPP Episode 2 (23.45)

See also: