All projects begin as a concept. A project concept, to create a new product or service, typically includes a broad vision of what the end result of the project will be. The temporary project results in the unique product or service through progressive elaboration. Progressive elaboration is the incremental design and refinement of the initial concept toward the project plan.
As a project management course moves closer to completion, the identified needs that launched the project are revisited and monitored. Complete understanding of the needs-and the ability to fulfill those needs-comes from progressive elaboration. Progressive elaboration is an iterative process designed to correctly and completely fulfill the project objectives. This is evident in how the planning and execution processes each contribute to one another. A similar example can be seen in the process to create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The WBS begins with the project vision, which is then elaborated upon to create the project scope, and then expanded again into the WBS, and so on.
Consider a concept to build a new building that would handle the manufacturing and shipping of blue jeans. It would begin broadly, with materials delivered, the assembly equipment, and the outward-bound shipping bays. As the project team continues to research the needs and expectations of the project, the project vision would be refined, honed, and polished to a detailed outline of what the project would deliver. As you can see in Figure, through incremental steps, the project plan is developed and the unique project deliverable s are created.