If you’re a Project Manager in any industry, you don’t have enough time to focus on every little detail of what an employee does the whole day. You can’t keep track of the number of cups of coffee they chugged or how many lines of code they wrote or how many times they went to the bathroom.
One thing you can do, if you’re a project manager, is that you can set different milestones or Project Deliverables that calculate the productivity percentage of your team more effectively.
These deliverables are a checkpoint that let the project managers know that the team is making progress and not just playing Fortnite all day at the office.
As we can see, project deliverables are a vital component in the project development cycle and so creating these milestones should be one of the most important responsibilities that a project manager has to perform.
So, if you are new to the industry or just want to know about creating project deliverables for your project, then this guide is the perfect fit for you. Let us begin.
What is Project Deliverable(s)?
Whether you belong to the world of project management or not, you must’ve used the word “deliverable” at-least-once at work, every day. However, if you do belong to the world of project management, then you know that this word means something really specific there.
The project deliverable is defined as a specific output generated by the work done on the tasks related to the project in question. But not every output or task completed can be contemplated as a deliverable. There’s a specific criterion for that, like:
- The output in question must be well within the scope of the project
- All of the stakeholders whether internal or external must agree to it
- It must not a mistake or a fluke, it must be achieved through deliberate work
- If should play an important role in the project’s development
For example, if you belong to a creative agency, you must achieve a dozen goals per day, but you can’t count all of these goals as “deliverables”, because they were neither critical for the progress of the project nor did you spend weeks and weeks of deliberate work on them.
Still, it doesn’t mean that a deliverable has to be a very big entity like creating a building, it can even be a simple bicycle or even a document per se. You just have to remember while creating deliverables, that it has to have a significant value for the project and hard work spent on it, to count it as a deliverable.
Project deliverables are a hot commodity in the PM paradigm and can be created for both the internal and external patrons. For example, a simple deliverable for an external stakeholder can even be a website you design for them. And for the internal party, a design requirement document is a simple example.
Deliverables can also be stacked on top of each other. One deliverable can even have many deliverables of its own. For example, your primary deliverable is to create a website for your client but to achieve that goal, you need to create a website mockup and a wireframe, which are two separate deliverables on which the primary is dependent.
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What is the difference between Internal and External Deliverables?
Categorizing deliverables into external and internal camps is a good exercise. If you are not familiar with Internal and External deliverables, then just keep these two points in mind:
- Any task or deliverable that is not a part of a business activity performed with a client is an internal deliverable
- Any task or deliverable that is specifically performed to fulfill a client’s order or to attain more business from them is an external deliverable
Internal deliverables can also be recognized as the tasks performed or milestones achieved to run your business. These can be activities like keeping accounts or creating corporate documents. Internal deliverables are required to run the business, but only external deliverables generate revenue.
Most of the time there won’t be any confusion while categorizing different types of deliverables. But if you are not sure whether it’s an internal or external deliverable, you should as yourself about whether this deliverable or task achieved is going to leave the company? If the answer to that question is yes, then it’s an external deliverable.
What is the difference between Project and Process Deliverables?
We already know what project deliverables are but what about Process deliverables?
While Project deliverables are huge client-related accomplishments that make or break the company, Process deliverables are a whole different ball game. They are the path on which you get to create those important project deliverables.
If you want a clearer picture of Process deliverables, then think of the documents that you often need to manage a project. These can be a work breakdown structure or WBS, governance plan, statement of work, scope statement or creating an effective project plan.
These documents are never a requirement to please the client rather they are generated to help manage the project optimally. You can even run the whole project development process without them but not that easy. All of these deliverables are then Process deliverables because they help the manager and their team reach their goal more easily.
The Process of Defining Project Deliverables
When the project managers start the process of creating project deliverables, they have to move backward from the core objective and find out exactly what they have to do to achieve this milestone.
When they have done that, then they figure out all of the requirements that are needed to make the deliverable presentable to the stakeholders and get it accepted.
When creating Project Deliverables, you should really ask the following questions:
- What is the end result expected by the client when the project is concluded?
- What is the project hoping to accomplish?
- What are the important parts of the project’s objectives?
- How will the team acquire or achieve this deliverable?
- What is the cost of production speculated for this deliverable?
- How much time is required to achieve this milestone?
Essentially what you’re gaining by performing this Q/A is breaking down the project’s objectives into very small parts while evaluating the feasibility and priority of each individual entity.
Examples of Project Deliverables
To make your understanding of what project deliverables are, here are a few other examples for you to study:
- A WBS created at the very start of a building project
- A gap analysis report
- A SWOT analysis
- A Gantt chart formed at the start of a project
- A website wireframe generated for the development team
- A whitepaper generated by the development team
The upper mentioned ones are just some of the many deliverables examples. You can give the deliverable status to any task or milestone until and unless the stakeholders agree to that notion.
The Process of Defining Process Deliverables
Project Deliverables are necessary, but you will also have to create Process Deliverables to create and facilitate Project deliverables. Like any other activity in the project management paradigm, you will need to track the milestones and make sure that they cover all of the requirements laid out in the project scope.
Most companies have their own rules and regulations about creating deliverables but nevertheless, here are some common questions you can ask to optimally define process deliverables. They are:
- Who is responsible for completing and checking up on all of the deliverables?
- How are you going to effectively track and manage each individual deliverable?
- Who is responsible to plan, execute and maintain the deliverables?
- What process deliverables are necessary to complete the objectives designed for the project?
Helpful Tips to Manage Project Deliverables
To make the process of managing Project Deliverables easier, here are some of the most common tips we have gathered for you:
- Before you start your work, first you have to define all of the deliverables. This is because if you add the deliverables during the development phase, it will drastically change the budget and scope of the project
- While gathering the required information about the deliverables, you would have to be extremely thorough. Why? Because when you’ll have the complete information about the deliverable, you will be able to persuade the stakeholders to accept your terms easily
- Find out whether the deliverable you’re working on is supposed to be internal or external
- The objective of the project needs to be properly decomposed in order to reveal the critical deliverables. But make sure that you get approval on every deliverable by the stakeholders before starting to work on it
- Divide the development of each deliverable in different phases. This will help you in tracking them easily
- Use a project management software like nTask to properly track and manage your project deliverables
- There are a lot of process deliverables as standard in the market. Whenever convenient, use those to achieve your goals
This guide was not meant to exhaust you. It was just to provide you the relevant information about Project and Process Deliverables, and how you can formulate them. Every PM should develop his/her own process of formulating Project Deliverables because at the end of the day, they are the ones trying to achieve them.
Originally published at https://www.ntaskmanager.com on January 25, 2020.