Sometimes the boundaries of an engagement or operations are very vague and your team finds itself having to cover a large "area of operations" - too many people to track, too many sites to learn, to many servers to scan and too many different technologies to learn. It can make your team freeze, not knowing where to begin.
One way we found useful, is to focus on learning your target by drilling down on what or who is important for the target. This is key to better simulate their adversary. Concentrating first on the people will provide a better view of the organization, even the digital side. More specifically, learning who is important and has the keys to the gates, so to speak, will pay a big part in achieving your goal.
This is where patterns of life come into play. Patterns of life is essentialy learning how people go about their lives in a certain location, understanding their habits or what's "normal" and what's not. Once you see these patterns you can begin creating a picture of what's important and begin setting priorities. You can quickly shift focus to the people that will give you a better chance of penetrating your target, understanding a plan or the reason behind it.
Focus on the people, their patterns of life, their social landscape and make plan.