I'm writing a proposal in which I describe a series of small projects/experiments. The projects start out small and basic, then the subsequent project builds on the results from the prior project. I need to convey the idea that the projects have been carefully selected to complement each other, and that the sequence in which they are executed is important. I'm sure there is a word or short phrase somewhere that describes this idea succinctly.

The sort of phrase in which this word would be used: "The new technique will be applied in a series of projects designed to blah blah blah." Or: "The new technique will be applied in sequential projects that rely on yada yada yada."

Here are some related words I've considered:

"Sequential", "successive": These are ok because they tell the reader that I am doing one project after another, but they don't convey the relationship between the projects.

"Progressive": Getting closer, but this word also can mean "revolutionary" or "modern" and sounds a bit weird in this context.

"Escalating": Has the right feel, but it's too intense, and doesn't denote a series of events.

Thanks for helping.

  • Cascading, pipelined, bottom-up. Oct 2, 2014 at 22:11
  • Developmental (see explanatory note at AHDEL). Oct 2, 2014 at 22:55
  • You could use interdependent. Things rarely progress one-dimensionally, although its nice to imagine they might.
    – Phil Sweet
    Nov 1, 2016 at 23:39

5 Answers 5


I think you are looking for:

The new technique will be applied incrementally in a series of small projects culminating in ...


I would call these smaller projects phases of a larger project. In Phase 1, we will do A. In Phase 2, we will do B, building on A. In Phase 3, we will do C, building on A and B. Etc. This a phased approach.

One can take a phased approach to many types of projects, e.g., construction projects, research projects. It's natural -- indeed, necessary in many cases -- to divide such projects into well-defined phases, precisely because the carrying out of any given phase depends on the completion of the previous phases. Think about building a house.

From M-W:

phase (noun): a part or step in a process : one part in a series of related events or actions

phase (transitive verb): to conduct or carry out by planned phases


How about "The new technique will be applied in a chain of projects designed to blah blah blah."


The term nested is sometimes used to indicate a series of things that are graduated in size and interconnect. The noun nest is defined by Collins as

a set of things, usually of graduated sizes, designed to fit together


Some ideas:


"Integratively," "integrationally," not sure








scalogram noun sca·lo·gram \ˈskā-lə-ˌgram\ Popularity: Bottom 10% of words Definition of scalogram : an arrangement of items (as problems on a test or features of speech) in ascending order so that the presence or accomplishment of an item at one level implies the presence of or the capability to accomplish items at all lower levels

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