Intermediate packets are the minimum viable products of knowledge work and form the building blocks of larger, finished deliverables. The concept is described by productivity consultant Tiago Forte in his article Bending The Curves Of Productivity.
Tiago Forte argues that we need to change our conception of how we produce value from final deliverables to "intermediate packets." These packets are comprised of the research, brainstorms, examples, outlines, drafts, prototypes and other ideas that we create as reusable components for whatever end products we're building.
Creating and sharing intermediate packets lets knowledge workers deliver value quickly and is essential for learning and innovation. It's less intimidating than trying to create final deliverables in one sitting, provides opportunities for feedback at a much earlier stage in the creative process, and allows value to be created within any available timescale (effectively making knowledge workers distraction-proof).
If ideas are the inventory of knowledge work, then reducing our batch sizes requires changing not how we manage tasks and projects, but how we manage the information content of those projects.
We need to change our conception of what we are producing, from final deliverables to what I will call “intermediate packets.” Instead of seeing the final product (the deliverable we sell to the client) as the only repository of value, we package up all the intermediate steps — the research, notes, brainstorms, examples, outlines, prototypes, drafts, and even crazy ideas we choose not to pursue — as reusable components for later consumption.
At the end of the project, instead of making one final crazy all-night push to load every single part of the project into our brain for final delivery, our task is much easier: final assembly of the previously built packets.