Introduction to Project Deliverables – The Most Important Bits
Deliverables are the output of a project. You can imagine how important the inputs are, that’s why one of the main responsibilities of a project manager is to define, track and manage the project deliverables.
In this article, we will provide you with a simple definition of project deliverables and introduce you to all the basics.
What is a Project Deliverable?
In terms of a simple definition, a project deliverable is a product or service plus their supplementing documents, submitted within the scope of a project. They can be classified as internal (ones you submit to your own team members or to a collaborating department) or external ( ones you submit to stakeholders outside of your company).
A single project can have many deliverables or just one. That means a deliverable can be a report, project plans, test assessment results in complex projects, or just one final objective of a project. It’s important that all deliverables have to be agreed upon early during the planning stage.
A project deliverable also needs to meet certain criteria:
- It must be part of the scope of the project
- Everyone involved must agree to it
- It is a result of focused, deliberate work
- It has a certain role in the overall achievement of the project’s objective
Deliverables vary from project to project and client to client. However, they are crucial to evaluating the progress of the project, and most importantly, they wrap up a project at its closure and show that the client’s requirements are met.
Process Deliverables vs Product Deliverables
We can break them further into two categories, depending on how directly either would satisfy the project requirements. For example, process deliverables are the route you take in order to achieve the result, while the product deliverables are the final outputs that directly satisfy one or more project requirements, such as milestones.
- Process deliverables can be: internal bug reports, a project management plan, an internal chart of the project workflow.
- Product deliverables can be: fully-functioning live website, complete marketing strategy, fully-developed application.
What we can get from this is process deliverables (both internal and external) move the project forward, while product deliverables (both internal and external) directly satisfy a project requirement.
As we mentioned, a project deliverable is not only the product or service but also its supplementing documents.
These documents can be:
- Signed contracts
- Reports on how the project progressed (serving for evaluation)
- Finalized expense reports
- Service reports
- Progress reports
These documents are also deliverables and stakeholders need them in order to evaluate the progress or completion of a project.
What are the Key Deliverables of a Project?
Key deliverables are the major components, which need to be completed, in order to reach the objective of a project. First, you determine the project’s objective, then you break down the big objective into key, important parts – the key deliverables and then, the key deliverables are broken down into specific tasks that need to be completed.
Tracking Project Deliverables
You already understand the importance of project deliverables. And like many other elements of a project, is something you need to track, in order to achieve your goals.
Here are some of the best practices for tracking them:
- Define deliverables – understand client’s end goal objectives and break them down into deliverables
- Understand the requirement for the deliverables and create acceptance criteria
- Involve stakeholders from the very beginning and create a work breakdown structure – divide deliverables into smaller parts
- Determine Internal/External deliverable and Project/Process deliverables
- Set milestones (checkpoints for progress) and set deadlines
- Use software to track your deliverables easily
Probably, you’ve noticed that we mentioned milestones. Bear with us, we explain it just a line below:
Difference Between a Project Deliverables and a Milestones
The difference between a project deliverable and a milestone is often a source of confusion for people who are new to project management. Fear not! Again, we have a simple explanation, which will make you go “a-ha!”
A project deliverable is a measurable result of the project processes.
A milestone is mostly showing progress towards reaching the project’s objective.
We explained milestones in project management in more detail in another article.
We hope this article was useful for you, that you’ve learned something valuable quickly and that you will find valuable information in our other project management-related articles as well.