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Unable to relate to "in progress"




I am not able to take it any more. That’s it! Stop using that phrase. I do not want to hear actions framed in that context anymore. The phrase reveals a lack of confidence in actions, an unidentified strategy, and a lack of awareness of the resources required to complete. Okay, if I hear it once, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is a sincere comment to rectify the vagueness of the current state immediately. The frustration of people using the phrase flippantly has reached a boiling point. The phrase. “In progress.


Dangers of using the term In Progress


Have you noticed the progress bar shown when downloading the latest IOS upgrade and recognized that progress is being made as pixels are changing colors on a bar from left to right? Imagine if the IOS update was simply the phrase “in progress" in the middle of your screen and you did not have a visual aid to accompany the progress bar. There are two parts required when to denote progress; action and an end.


Have you been stuck in a traffic jam where there is no movement? If there is at least a little bit of movement, you feel the progress to an end state. But if it is a complete logjam, bumper to bumper, with not even a little bit of inching of progress, your stress begins to boil. Let's move people!


Have you had a blue screen of death on a computer screen? Have you clicked the 5 ¼ inch floppy disk (save icon) on an Excel spreadsheet and all you have is a save icon circle spinning around and around and around? These are examples of the same feeling I get when I hear “in progress.”


Change In Progress to Action


If you catch yourself throwing around the term “in progress,” find a date. Attach a milestone with the date and commit to something. “By the end of this week, we will have a good idea of the extent of the damage to create a timeline.” This sounds a lot more progressive and constructive than saying, “The timeline we are creating is in progress on the extent of the damage.”


Frame your responses with dates, times, and milestones. Make the tangible, achievable, and measurable. Need more -able words to re-frame the "in progress" next time? Make the comments more distinguishable, quantifiable, and linkable. Join this mission with me, and let’s remove this response from our vocabulary so we can get stuff done and hold each other accountable. Look, another -able.


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