One of my favorite terms that I learned last year was “progressive elaboration.” I studied (and passed the test!) for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification which yielded plenty of project manager vocab including this gem.
Progressive elaboration means to improve and detail a plan continuously as you gather more information. Like my teammate Kai says, “We’ll be smarter tomorrow than we are today.”
We’re gearing up to kick off a new consulting project next week.
That means this week involves reviewing the timeline and dependencies—getting clear on what we’ll need by when to keep us moving.
But it also means I have to recite “progressive elaboration” to myself like a mantra. It’s not helpful to go wild and plan out every detail so early on when so much can change.
As we gather context from the client, absorb learnings from community members, and progress with the problem we can elaborate on our plan.