I ran across an old document that contained a phrase I hadn't heard before:

The Plan for the Plan for the XYZ Team

Summary

XYZ is at ZBB and we are now at a recall class only bug bar until RTM. The team has also started working on a plan for a plan to address the requests made from the XYZ Leadership Team several months ago. Details of the planning ...

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3. Bob would like a more concrete plan for a plan. Milestone breakdowns, entry/exit dates, etc...

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Plan for a Plan

We established some deliverables to begin creating the plan for a plan:

Development/Design Code Review
Due date: Next week
Prerequisites: Dev work items

Alice will drive this to get sanity checks from other developers about overall design.

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There's a lot of Microspeak in that snippet. We've got ZBB, recall class, deliverables, to drive, and the phrase for today: plan for a plan/the plan.

The phrase "plan for a plan" makes me think that you're trying to decide how you're going to decide what you're going to to. This is different from "early stages of planning", because when you're in the early stages of planning, you're actually planning something, even though you're still in the exploratory stage. On the other hand, planning for planning sounds like you don't even know how to plan, and you have to go learn how to do it again.

It reminds me of that Dilbert cartoon where Dilbert taunts the pointy-haired boss by suggesting that it would be rash to have a premeeting without planning it.