I recently worked with some education leaders to design some educational technology projects that were organized around educational design research. Some of their reflections after we finished give us insight into the workflow of leaders.
Rachel (one of the leaders) made observations of the differences between the planning that was commonly expected to be followed by leaders in her school district and the planning we had done. The project she had undertaken was highly technical, “there is no way I could set a realistic goal when I started,” she said, “I knew what we wanted to be able to do, but I could not have responsibly signed purchase orders based on what I knew.” Rachel continued,
planning that was explicitly iterative gave me permission to not know what my plan was to be before I started. For me, this was an exploration and a learning by failure. I was figuring out what I wanted to do by figuring out what I did not want to do. Sure, it was inefficient, but it worked. Plus, we knew we were supposed to fail and fix, so we went back to fixing earlier than we would have if we were not following the iterative model.