Gunter Dittmar was my icon in graduate school. He was a despondent German expatriate bombed into depression while growing up in Berlin during the Allied blitz. Amid his slow and thoughtful speech was a bit of genius. He understood that the “problem solving process” and the “problem seeking process” involved keeping the “levels of abstraction” aligned and not mixed up.
For example, you can’t solve the big picture if you’re focused too early on how many doorknobs and how much they cost each. Ultimately you care about the doorknobs, but only in the right sequence and at the right time.
“The is nothing more worrisome that the wrong question answered well” (quote from South American Architect on TED talks)
The reasons for the mix-ups are many are 1) participants competing for influence in the process and sowing mixed levels just to be in the conversation, 2) sometimes the logical structure of the issue is simply misunderstood and the conversationalists get down the rabbit hole, 3) the participating silos have standards of practice that run in opposition to one another, 4) the participants don’t like one another, and 5) disorderly allocation of risk (hours of effort in dollars) etc .
In any event put first things first as you move from concepts to details.