When facing the complexities of a project how do you go about making sense of it?
Compressing complexity into something manageable
My method is to start by zooming out and taking a low-resolution mental-snapshot, altering the resolution at which I'm perceiving the matter.
It's like squinting (so to speak) it blurs the resolution, so instead of dealing with overwhelming individual complexities, regions of complexity coalesce into a handful of bundles. And although blurry, the picture is simplified and becomes more mentally manageable.
Then with each over-simplified bundle of complexity, we can start to unpack and re-evaluate individually, becoming more granular, correcting biases and adopting a nuanced understanding of the underlying complexities.
Working in iterative cycles of; drilling into each bundle and zooming back out is like slicing through a cake, we get a view of all the layers and gain a deeper insight.
Along the way, reoccurring patterns emerge and when durable enough they can speed up our analysis of the remainder of the complexities. These emerging patterns appear ... classifications, metaphors, relationships, analogies or anecdotal examples ... and aid in succinctly communicating the gist of complexities to others and ourselves.
In the end, this technique culminates in a comfortable understanding of the complex whole. At least only the comprehension we need to define the goals of our project and propose the next logical steps forward.