Any project you work on comes with its own objectives, goals, and deliverables. Project deliverables vary from project to project, but they are always aligned with the project scope.
Project deliverables play a multi-faceted, crucial role by establishing clear expectations amongst stakeholders, acting as a frame of reference or end goal for the project team, and serving as the basis for the project development roadmap.
Given this importance, project managers (and stakeholders, too) must have a rock-solid understanding of what is meant by project deliverables. Here’s a guide that can help them gain that.
What is a project deliverable?
Project deliverables are the output or outcomes that one can expect upon completing a project or its part. As such, it can be the project’s primary goal, a specific feature or functionality, or even the documentation involved in project processes.
Either way, project deliverables are within the scope of the project and possess a well-defined role or function in meeting the larger objective.
Project deliverables are typically agreed upon in the project planning stage to establish the project baseline and allocate resources. Project deliverables are also documented within the project charter so that they can be referenced throughout the various project development phases.
What are the three types of deliverables in project management?
Several individuals confuse project deliverables for the final output. However, that’s a very narrow way of viewing deliverables in project management. In fact, project deliverables can be classified into three main types, namely, internal, external, and planning. Here’s what they mean:
As the name suggests, internal project deliverables are those outcomes that benefit or impact your organization or teams working on the project and the internal stakeholders. However, they may or may not have any bearing on the customer and their requirements.
Internal project deliverables examples include:
- Feasibility studies
- Market report
- SWOT analysis
- Testing results
- Project analytics
- Mood boards
- Team training
External project deliverables are quite the opposite of their internal counterparts as they are submitted to external stakeholders, such as investors and clients. In other words, these project deliverables make their way outside of the organization. They help in maintaining cordial relationships or winning over your customer base.
External project deliverables examples include:
- Progress reports
- Initial designs
- Final designs
- Sales deck
- New feature
- Source code
- Minimum viable product (MVP)
Documentation assets that feature during the project planning stage can be classified as planning project deliverables. Such project deliverables examples include:
- Project charter
- Statement of Work
- Project budget
- Project plan
Project deliverables vs. Project objectives
Project objectives help you define project deliverables. However, project objectives are broader than your deliverables. When you define your project objectives, you’re also considering the benefits and outcomes you can expect from those deliverables. Project objectives relate to the grander scheme of your project goals and, more importantly, business objectives.
Example of project objective: Build brand awareness for the new brand.
Example of project deliverables: Build the website, create social media presence, launch influencer marketing campaign, PR Campaigns, and Google ads.
Project deliverables vs. Project milestones
Project milestones are the various checkpoints that mark the journey toward reaching the project deliverable or objective. The only thing that separates a project milestone from project deliverables is that milestones hit during—not at the end of your project.
To continue with the above project deliverables example, hiring a marketing team, creating a website, and establishing social media presence could have several milestones beneath them.
Creating job briefs, allocating the budget for the new hire, interviewing candidates, and sending out the offer letters could be milestones that, when completed, would deliver the ‘hiring a marketing team’ deliverable.
How to Plan Project Deliverables in 5 Easy Steps
Now that you have a clear understanding of deliverables in project management, here is a guide to planning project deliverables in five easy steps.
1. Get probing
As mentioned, there are going to be times when your project objectives will be the same as project deliverables, and there are going to be times when that’s not the case. The only way you will know more about project deliverables is when you dig deeper by asking the following questions:
- What does the project aim to achieve?
- What are the customer expectations?
- Is it possible to break down the larger goal into smaller units?
- What would be required to achieve the smaller goals? How will you produce it?
- What would be the cost or duration of every segment?
- How would each section affect the final outcome?
These are just a few questions that can help you get started. Once you dive in deeper, you will find more questions that will offer you a 360-degree view of the different project deliverables as well as their impact on the project’s success.
2. Collect requirements
The right questions will give you greater insights into the project and all the work that will go into it. And once you have a deeper understanding of the tasks involved, you can easily identify the different requirements that constitute each deliverable.
Project requirements set the parameters or specifications as benchmarks that help analyze whether a deliverable is acceptable or otherwise. Gaps in project requirements also are a symptom of imminent change or revision, which could eventually lead to the dreaded scope creep.
As such, your requirements should be clear, unambiguous, and without any holes. Think of each requirement as a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. To ensure that you get the full picture, encourage all stakeholders to actively participate in the brainstorming and requirement-gathering process so that you have a clear-cut foundation for your project deliverables.
Once you have documented the project deliverables and the corresponding requirements, share it with all the key stakeholders involved to obtain buy-in on all the agreed-upon specifications.
3. Define Milestones
Now that you have the end results and a basic idea of the path leading to it, you have to perform some reverse engineering to backtrack to the starting point.
Think of all the steps and stages that go into reaching the project objective. Then once you have the detailed roadmap, you can divide this journey into Milestones, each carrying a weighted priority, timeline, assignees, and tasks.
Moving forward, the same project deliverables example; Hiring a marketing team. There would be several milestones beneath it, like shortlisting candidates, obtaining quotes, portfolio reviews, etc
Pair them with a requirements checklist that allows you to qualitatively measure the progress of the project and carry out necessary interventions when the expectation and delivery trajectories diverge considerably.
For instance, with Nifty, beneath each milestone, you can have tasks with their assignees and deadlines.
Once you complete a particular task added to a milestone, Nifty’s milestone view automatically shows you a percentage-based update that helps you get an overview of your alignment with the project timeline.
Defining measurable KPIs that help analyze performance or progress would be best.
Also, take this opportunity to identify any dependencies or blockers that can delay or temporarily suspend project development. Since you have a strategy directing to the project deliverables, plan out the allocation of resources, talent, devices, etc., to optimize the interplay or hand-offs between tasks with minimal downtime.
4. Set up workflows and trackers
By this point, what you will have is a rough draft of your project workflow. Now, you must translate this information into a visual graph, such as a timeline. Such a graphical depiction of the project will lend a considerable amount of visibility into the tasks propping up every project deliverable.
While such workflows can take care of the planning part of it, trackers can help monitor the execution part of the project. You can design trackers that capture real-time project status, capture historical data leading to the present state, flag issues, and assign priorities to tasks.
You can even appoint persons in charge (PICs) for every project deliverable to decentralize project development.
5. Review, approve, and test
Once all the workflows are set, you only need to review and approve them to get the ball rolling. As you may have figured by now, you will need a powerful and reliable project management tool to set everything in motion – right from collecting requirements to setting up workflows.
Nifty can simplify the end-to-end cycle of identifying project deliverables so that your team can spend more time churning out results and less time doing routine or clerical work.
The Nifty project management tool will also come in handy in analyzing your performance, which brings us to the next and final part of project deliverables planning – post-delivery analysis.
Most project managers or PICs may think that submitting a project deliverable is the end of their job. However, it is just the first half of the rinse-and-repeat cycle of project development.
The second half revolves around debriefing and evaluation. Take this time to analyze what went in your favor, any roadblocks or hurdles, areas of improvement, the impact of the project deliverable, and how closely the project deliverable aligns with the expectations.
Project Deliverables Examples
Let’s round up this exhaustive guide on project deliverables with a few real-world project deliverables examples.
Do bear in mind that the following project deliverables examples are purely indicative and subject to change depending on your project objectives.
Content marketing: Project deliverables
Your content marketing team comprises writers, editors, graphic designers, videographers, animators, etc. Essentially it is a team of all kinds of creative individuals that produce the kind of content your target audience consumes. In their case, the project deliverables can take the form of:
- Blog posts or guest posts
- Branded messaging templates
- Audio clips
- Print media
Each of these key deliverables can be marked as an individual milestone with tasks added to each one of them:
As highlighted above, each milestone can have its own task and deliverables, and when completed, they update the overall status of the project:
Product development: Project deliverables
Product development teams consist of product designers, UI/UX designers, market researchers, analysts, product managers, and more. The team would be responsible for delivering any or all of the following project deliverables:
- Initial UI wireframe
- Final blueprint
- Software code
- Fully developed website or application
Sales and marketing: Project deliverables
As the boundary between sales and marketing begins to blur, their project deliverables begin to overlap considerably. Now, rather than functioning as two separate wings of a business, the sales and marketing teams function collaboratively to deliver the following project deliverables:
- Market gap or demand analysis
- Style guides
- Brand voice
- Marketing collateral to capture leads
- Sales pitch deck
- Sales and marketing channels
- Product positioning and value proposition
- Competitive or business intelligence
- Sales and marketing strategies
Let us re-emphasize that a capable project management tool is the backbone of planning and managing deliverables in project management effectively.
Naturally, once you have laid all the groundwork, success will become a common occurrence in all your endeavors. And once you and your teams get a taste for success, staying motivated and registering success in subsequent projects will be easier.
After all, defining project deliverables and devising a roadmap to achieving them is a muscle that you need to train. Once you have mastered the art of capturing and communicating requirements and tracking progress, you will birth project deliverables that match customer expectations – without extending the timeline or the budget!
Sign up now for Nifty and start creating projects and defining project deliverables with ease.
What are deliverables in a project plan?
Project deliverables are clearly defined outputs or results that stem from the deliberate work carried out within a project. Such deliverables are within the scope of a project and contribute to achieving the primary objective. The deliverables are further divisible into sub-deliverables in the case of larger projects.
Project deliverables can be internal, external, or planning. Internal project deliverables are required for the efficient functioning of the project team or the organization. External project deliverables have a direct link with the project objectives. Planning deliverables are basically documents that capture crucial project-related details.
What are some notable features of a project deliverable?
The key features of a project deliverable include:
- They exist within the scope of a project
- The stakeholders, internal or external, unanimously agree to the deliverables
- They are a result of deliberate and intended work
- They must have a definite role in contributing to the objective of a project
How do you identify project deliverables?
The process of identifying project deliverables varies from project to project. However, it more or less follows the steps given below:
- Break down the project objective into smaller, achievable goals.
- Analyze every small task to identify the deliverable.
- Define the deliverable and pair it with an appropriate set of acceptance criteria.
- Share the deliverable with the stakeholders and obtain their approval.
How do you write a good project deliverable?
You can write (and improve) a good project deliverable by following the steps below:
- Ask a series of investigative questions to understand the project deliverables at a granular level and link every deliverable with the project objective.
- Capture project requirements to quantify project deliverables and analyze whether they meet the benchmark. Obtain buy-in on the project requirements.
- Work your way back to chart the project roadmap and divide the entire process into smaller tasks with the respective priorities, KPIs, and importance.
- Use the project roadmap to develop practical workflows and configure trackers to capture real-time progress and status.
- Implement the workflows and trackers after testing them, and review them periodically to enhance performance and efficacy of the journey toward the project deliverable.