Woman takes a photo of her friend at a digital art exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, United States

Tip #4: Start small and iterate

July 19, 2018

How do you run a complex initiative in a way that manages uncertainty and remains adaptable to change? Start small and implement your initiative one phase at a time.

What does iterative development look like?

Iterative development is an approach used in project management that allows work to remain flexible and change course as new insights are gained. This approach allows for taking risks more quickly and at lower cost.

An iterative approach involves:

  • A step-by-step approach that starts small and is developed in progressive phases—rather than all at once;
  • Phases that consist of designing, developing, testing and measuring results, and evaluating progress before advancing to the subsequent phase;
  • Short development cycles to ensure the initiator and partners can make adjustments in a timely manner;
  • People with a mix of skills and backgrounds on the implementation team to quickly test ideas and confirm or refute hypotheses before the next phase of the initiative;
  • Setting and running up of quick, low-cost, easy-to-manage tests to validate starting assumptions or to choose between possible options.

See initiatives that received support and have adopted an iterative approach.

Ready to take an iterative approach?

Read the multi-phase initiative guidelines of our Digital Strategy Fund or contact a program officer.