Deliverables in Project Management

Project deliverables are outputs that can help you achieve project objectives incrementally. Whereas project milestones are checkpoints to help you and your team know that you’re going in the right direction, project deliverables are complete outputs that can stand alone. The successful submission of project deliverables is a byproduct of the proper execution of project milestones.

Plotting project deliverables effectively can give you many benefits:

  • Gives you a better grasp of the work you need to do for a project
  • Helps you make more accurate estimates on scope, timeline, and budget
  • Allows your team to work independently
  • Aligns expectations between you and your stakeholders
  • Improves trust between you and your stakeholders
  • Raises team morale through visible progress

Read more: What Is A Project Charter?

Examples of Project Deliverables

Project deliverables can take many forms. It can be a piece of software, equipment, a document, or a product depending on what the project requires. Here, we’ll discuss the four types of project deliverables in two pairs:

  • Internal and external deliverables
  • Process and product deliverables

Internal vs External Deliverables

Internal and external deliverables differ in terms of which stakeholder will receive them.

Internal deliverables are submitted to internal stakeholders, such as upper management, company shareholders, and your team.

External deliverables are those you submit to people outside your organization (external stakeholders): clients, investors, the government, suppliers, customers, media, and other relevant institutions.

Here are a few examples of deliverables categorized according to their receiving parties:

External DeliverablesInternal Deliverables
Statement of workFeasibility study
Pitch deckAnalytics and testing results
WireframesSWOT analysis
PrototypeMood board
Source codeProject charter
Minimum viable product (MVP)Project plan
Progress report
Final submission

Process vs Deliverables

deliverables are devices, hardware, software, or systems, that (fully or partially) fulfill the project’s requirements.

Process deliverables are prerequisites that help you create the product. For example, if your product deliverable is a prototype, a process deliverable could be the organized findings of a user experience test. You’ll need the data of the process deliverable (the user experience test) to complete the product deliverable (the prototype).

Here are more examples of process and product deliverables:

Process Deliverables Deliverables
Feasibility studyPrototype
Mood boardMinimum viable product (MVP)
Project planFinal submission
Project charter
Progress report

How to Plan Your Project Deliverables in 5 Simple Steps

To maximize your efficiency with project deliverables, here are five steps you can take to plan them out.

1. Have a Firm Grasp of Your Project Objectives

Being clear about the problem your project is trying to solve is essential to develop the best solution. Doing this will help you and your team prioritize tasks and features. It’ll also help you identify the types of outputs your stakeholders want. This makes progress visible and increases stakeholder confidence in your work as you proceed.

2. Identify Your Project Milestones and Outputs

Once you clarify your end goal, work backward and think about the steps you must take to get there. In short: Plot your project milestones and corresponding project deliverables. Not every milestone will yield a deliverable, but it would be good to devise some of them to do so. Pair each deliverable with a checklist that outlines success parameters. Be sure to align with your stakeholders to ensure smooth progress and approvals.

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3. Plot Your Dependencies, Timeline, and PICs

With project deliverables identified, it’s time to look into what you’ll need to prepare to complete them:

  • Blockers and Dependencies: Are there resources, devices, approvals, or other deliverables required to progress?
  • Timeline: When are you planning to complete and submit each deliverable?
  • Persons in Charge (PICs): Who are your main point people for each project deliverable?

Try to preemptively anticipate possible process interruptions to avoid blockers that will stall progress. Organize tasks, milestones, and deliverables into a timeline to align your team on your priorities along every point in time. This will also give your stakeholders an idea of when they to expect updates. Sharing responsibility and accountability is a good way to empower your team to work independently.

4. Set Up Trackers and Workflow

Plans are nothing without good execution. Devise trackers your team can use to set priorities, update progress in real-time, and flag issues if there are any. Consider looking into project management tools or creating customized databases with software you and your teams are comfortable with. Then agree on how you’ll all communicate, and align with your stakeholders on how often you’ll send them updates. Having these in place can help minimize decision fatigue and promote a healthy culture of collaboration.

5. Allot Checkpoints for Evaluation and Improvement

Upon submitting a deliverable, take the time to debrief and evaluate:

  • What you did well
  • What you did not do well
  • What you can improve
  • What did you accomplish
  • How did this deliverable get you closer to your overall goal

This step is often overlooked, because it’s perceived to be taking time away from “actual” work. But as a project manager, think of it as an investment towards constant improvement. It can also be an opportunity to bring up issues best resolved as soon as possible. You don’t have to do a full project retrospective all the time. But done right, taking small moments to reflect and process can have a massive impact on your team’s rapport and productivity in the long run.

Conclusion

Project deliverables are outputs that your team can produce to achieve your objectives. Identifying them ahead of time can help your team focus, work independently, and sustain a good relationship with your stakeholders. Most importantly, progressive evaluation and feedback can help you ensure quality at every step of the process.

Read next: 5 Phases of Project Management (PMP)

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Smartsheet is a leading work execution platform that has real-time work management features, collaboration and automation tools. Users are presented with a familiar and easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface. However, it has enterprise-grade capabilities that even Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, Bayer, HP, and PayPal are confident to adopt in their business. Strong project management features enable teams to utilize different views of real-time data, and switch easily from Gantt, card, grid and calendar views. Smartsheet has automatic update requests, and can be used for waterfall and agile projects, product launch, sprint planning, and more. The resource management feature provides users the visibility who is busy, and who is not, in real-time. They can also attach files, share sheets, get notified, view the activity log, export, email, and print.

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monday.com Work OS is an award-winning no-code work management platform that helps teams manage projects and workflows more efficiently.

Used by 152,000+ customers worldwide, this fully customizable software lets you plan, manage, and track every project in one place. monday.com offers time-saving and easy-to-use features such as automations, time tracking, document sharing, and real-time collaboration. Multiple board views such as Gantt and Kanban help you structure and navigate tasks and projects the way you prefer, and dashboards give a high-level overview of your progress.

In addition, integrations with apps such as Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Gmail, and Excel, allow you to easily continue working with your favorite tools from within the platform. monday.com also offers dedicated solutions, such as monday dev and monday sales CRM, designed to answer the needs of specific industries.

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5 Zoho Projects

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Zoho Projects is an online project management application that helps its users to plan projects, collaborate with employees and clients, keep track of time, manage documents, and generate charts and reports. Users work on a central platform where they can keep track of progress, discuss ideas, communicate easily and stay updated. It is cloud-based and highly accessible, where user data is kept safe with stringent security systems. The software is also scalable depending on the number of projects, with the option to add more features. Zoho Projects is a cloud-based project management tool that helps you plan your work, track it efficiently, and collaborate with your team wherever they are.

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