Tip #1455: Experiment with parallel branches

While experimenting in a flow trying to find that elusive expression or action, I often catch myself doing this:

A partial screenshot of a Microsoft Power Automate flow, displaying a sequence of actions in a vertical layout. The process begins with a 'Manually trigger a flow' step at the top, denoted by a play button icon. Below it are four subsequent actions, each with a gear icon and labeled sequentially as 'Try Something', 'Try Something Else', 'Maybe This Will Work', and 'Yes Bet $100 This Is The One I Need!'. Each action is connected by a vertical line with a plus symbol, indicating potential insertion points for additional steps. The flow suggests a troubleshooting or iterative problem-solving approach within the automation.

The problem is, of course, I don’t bother setting Run After conditions and the result often looks like this:

Screenshot of a Microsoft Power Automate flow run, with a vertical sequence of steps. The first step, 'Manually trigger a flow,' is marked with a green checkmark, indicating it ran successfully. The second step, 'Try Something,' shows a red exclamation mark, signifying a failure in the flow. The subsequent steps, 'Try Something Else,' 'Maybe This Will Work,' and 'Yes Bet $100 This Is The One I Need!' are each marked with a no-entry symbol, indicating they were skipped due to the failure of the preceding action.

Now I have to edit, figure out what’s wrong, run again and again as I didn’t get to even try three other steps. If you find yourself doing the same mind-numbing experimental activities, make it a habit to use parallel branches!

Screenshot displaying a portion of a Microsoft Power Automate flow with options to modify the workflow. At the top, there's a 'Manually trigger a flow' step, depicted with a blue rectangle and a play icon. Below this step, there are two icons: a plus sign for 'Add an action' and a branching arrow for 'Add a parallel branch'. To the left, the first action in the workflow titled 'Try Something' is shown with a purple rectangle. Below, indicated by a plus sign, is a placeholder for another action, and further down is a second purple rectangle labeled 'Try Something Else', suggesting these actions are part of a sequence.

Add a parallel branch or two and rearrange the existing flow.

Screenshot of a Microsoft Power Automate flow diagram with parallel branches. The process starts at the top with a 'Manually trigger a flow' step, represented by a blue rectangle with a play button icon. From this initial step, four parallel branches extend horizontally. Each branch has its own action step: 'Try Something,' 'Try Something Else,' 'Maybe This Will Work,' and 'Yes Bet $100 This Is The One I Need!,' indicated by purple rectangles with corresponding gear icons. Plus signs are present between the steps and at the end of each branch, indicating potential points to add more actions or conditions to the flow.

The execution nails one of the actions as a solution in a single run!

Screenshot of a Microsoft Power Automate flow with four parallel actions following a successful 'Manually trigger a flow' step. The first and second actions, 'Try Something' and 'Try Something Else', are marked with red exclamation marks indicating failures. The third action, 'Maybe This Will Work', is marked with a green checkmark, signifying successful execution. The final action, 'Yes Bet $100 This Is The One I Need!', is again marked with a red exclamation mark, denoting a failure.

You can continue branching out, of course, on any level:

Screenshot depicting a complex Microsoft Power Automate flow with multiple levels of parallel branches. The flow is initiated by a 'Manually trigger a flow' step at the top. This leads to a first level of four parallel branches, each containing a single action. Beneath the third action, a second level of branching occurs, with two more actions that branch out further. In total, there are six actions in a two-tiered parallel structure, demonstrating the flow's capability to run multiple actions simultaneously at various stages.

PS. Credit where credit’s due: juggling parallel branches is much easier in the new Power Automate editor.

PPS. Use parallel branches for production runs as well. Don’t tell anyone but executing things in parallel is usually faster.

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