Reply: Clarification about - Progressive Elaboration

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Topic History of : Clarification about - Progressive Elaboration

Max. showing the last 6 posts - (Last post first)
11 years 6 months ago #631

Lucia R

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This is a very important week for you in which you polish final details for your exam, remember all Cornelius tips for the day of the exam, and I wish you all the best on the 9Th. At this stage what do you think of the saying "plans are useless but planning is indispensable" ? Lucia from Uruguay
11 years 6 months ago #628

Debangshu Ghose

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Just thought to add my 2 bits to this discussion :-) I'm currently prep'ing to do the PMP first week of Oct 09 and hence am attempting to provide my perspective...

Say, i want to build a car and 10 people in the room decide that it's a good idea and we begin.

Discussion1. How will the car look and drive and what features will it provide the end-user who will buy and use the car, what will we name it, will it be petrol/diesel/water/air driven :-) etc etc...

Discussion2. With details from the first meeting, we begin to elaborate on features and details of stage 2. (This is progressive elaboration at work :-)

"As per PMBOOK pg-7, Progressive elaboration involves continuously improving and detailing a plan as more detailed and specific information and more accurate estimates become available."

"Rolling wave planning" is basically to do with the whole "project management plan" depending on various information becoming available over the entire project management life-cycle.....

"As per PMBOK, Pg-46, Significant changes occurring throughout the project life-cycle triggers a need to revisit one or more of the planning processes and, possibly, some of the initiating processes. This progressive detailing of the project management plan is often called "rolling wave planning" indicating that planning and documentation are iterative and ongoing processes.

As per PMBOK, pg - 448, Scope creep: Adding features and functionality (project scope) without addressing the effects on time, cost and resources, or without customer approval. It is similar to "gold plating".

This would be like a team member who is part of this project team adding a GPRS and remote controlled PSP on the dashboard of the car so that the driver can play interactive games while twiddling his fingers on a traffic snarl :-)...... These features we're however not discussed with the client and we're just implemented by the team since they felt that these features would be highly desired on the product....

i hope the above explanation makes sense, request the experts to please correct me if i have made any mistake.

It will also help me clear concepts which i may have missed.

11 years 6 months ago #617

Lucia R

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I really appreciate your generous reply. Thanks Lucia
11 years 6 months ago #614


JD Crump, PMP, ITIL-F's Avatar

Hi Lucia:

Okay, let's try it this way:

Jeff says to Lucia: Lucia, you have been assigned a new project but you wont have a lot of details about what is required because the client hasn't figured them all out yet. How are you going to handle this situation?

Lucia says to Jeff: I am going to use progressive elaboration to learn more about the project in an iterative manner as time goes by.

Jeff says to Lucia: Well, that's sounds great but how do you expect to actually do that?

Lucia says to Jeff: I am going to use a technique called
"rolling wave planning."

Jeff to Lucia: What's that?

Lucia to Jeff: Great question Jeff! How it works is like this: I am going to create my work breakdown structure (WBS) with as much detail as I can get right now and I am going to focus on getting more and more detail over time. I'm going to focus more on getting the detail for the work that is coming up soon and will add the detail for the later activities when they become available in the future.

Jeff to Lucia: That sounds fantastic! You are amazing! Keep up the great work!

11 years 6 months ago #613

Lucia R

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yes, of course it helps very much, I really appreciate you take the time to answer questions which you already understand. I am taking the exam in December and Cornelius support is outstanding. There are so many book but I must focus only on the pmbok and cornelius prepcast because I cannot handly anymore, and now I wanted to experience also forums and it is very good. Thank you so much! but it is my first time in these professional forums, so coming again to this point: could you explain a bit more regarding your 1st sentence? "there is more to know about progressive elaboration such as its role in portfolio, program and project management as well as in modeling"- I understand both terms "progressive elaboration" and "role wave planning" imply starting from high level and then little by little add details, I also understand they are iterative processes however I do not understand the difference, when use one and when use another term.
tks again and regards from South America, Uruguay
11 years 6 months ago #611


JD Crump, PMP, ITIL-F's Avatar

Well, there is more to know about progressive elaboration such as its role in portfolio, program and project management as well as in modeling.

In addition, that rolling wave planning is called into action when decomposition isn't possible.

Sometimes *knowing* the answer isn't as black and white as "rolling wave planning is a form of progressive elaboration", you have to know when and how it's called into action and what other forms it takes.

I hope that helps!

Take care,


Training for Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®