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Definition of progressive elaboration according to PMBOK

Definition of progressive elaboration according to PMBOK

Sep, 24th 18

In the beginning stage of a project, very little information is available at the project team’s disposal. But, as the time passes, this changes. More and more information is gathered and makes it easy for the team to plan the process. This is where progressive elaboration comes into the picture. It allows the project management team to plan the project in a detailed manner. By reaching out and researching, getting to the details of the method becomes easy.

In this technique, the plan for carrying and executing is regularly updated and bought down to details which are then followed for better results. A lot of information is then available with the project management them that help them have a clearer picture of goals.


Quiz Question


Select the BEST definition of progressive elaboration according to PMBOK:

a)Time (Answer)




A project manager is benefitted from this method as the availability of detailed information helps him make better decisions. Here, time plays a major role because with passing time, the project is furthered and executed in a very detailed manner. Collecting information and updating the project plan regularly ensures better functioning of the team. Plus, this affects the overall progress on various levels.


To understand this better, let us look at the pattern that is most commonly observed in any project plan. Generally, in a business project, there is an issue and a goal to begin with. In order to reach the goal, one has to eliminate/eradicate the issue. The steps are as follows,


  • Concept


  • Research


  • Concept refinement


  • Defining the scope


  • Finalizing the project plan

Here, once the concept is introduced, researches are conducted on it to get a detailed report. On achieving that, the same is subjected to refinement process where the facts are cross-checked and balanced. On the approval, its scope is defined in the process. Hence, the final project plan is achieved. This is carried out on a regular basis and the project is carried out in iterations where constant modifications are allowed for the betterment of the product. All in all, the progressive elaboration method garners benefits with time and seems to be highly beneficial for all kinds of projects.


When the plan is constantly modified, it gives the team a new target each time. It reduces the risk and provides a better understanding of the overall project. When the plan is updated keeping all the factors in mind, it leads to improvement in the procedure. This could help save money and efforts too. With the regular upgrading of the procedure, one can be sure to learn in the process and expand their horizons. This has several indirect benefits too, like, higher chances of collaborations and better understanding among the employees. Progressive elaboration is related to time and seems to get better with passing time.


Apart from this, progressive elaboration also leads to improvement in the quality of the end product. With several updates, the project is sure to upgrade in terms of quality and method.


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