A project’s success is determined by the ability to bring ideas into reality, and project deliverables provide the roadmap for navigating the path from ideation to completion.
They’re the results of countless hours of planning, labor, and creativity. But what exactly are project deliverables, and why are they so critical to a project’s triumph?
Answers to questions regarding project deliverables, including what types exist, how to define them, and many more, await you in this article. So, let’s not waste any time and jump into it right away!
What Are Project Deliverables in Project Management?
Project deliverables in project management refer to the outputs of your team’s work on a project. The project’s ultimate goal is to achieve a specific value, often in the form of products or services.
However, the team obtains many “small” results before hitting the final product or service. Every result, whether a new approach to problem-solving, project documentation, or improved team member performance, is considered a project deliverable.
Project deliverables indicate that the team is progressing within the project scope, achieving desired results. Project deliverables also highlight the project’s weaknesses and bottlenecks, which you can then address.
They are very useful to the project stakeholders since they can present the progress of both the team and the project. Therefore, it is crucial to receive feedback in the form of outcomes and effectively manage them.
The project management team can utilize project management tools, such as Jira or PRINCE2, along with a project deliverable checklist to provide clear frameworks within chosen methodologies for understanding the components that make up project outcomes and how to track them effectively.
Project Deliverables vs. Project Objectives
Project objectives encompass broader goals the company aims to achieve through project execution. They represent the ultimate aims, such as the intended market impact a company will gain by launching a new product.
On the other hand, project deliverables are the results of project activities focused on developing that product and everything associated with working on it. Therefore, obtaining project deliverables serves as an indicator of progress toward meeting project goals.
Project Deliverables vs. Project Milestones
Project deliverables and project milestones are closely related concepts, but they are not the same.
As mentioned, project deliverables are typically concrete items, products, documents, or services produced or provided as part of the project activities that represent the tangible outcomes of the project. These concrete outcomes serve as critical markers for measuring progress and ensuring project objectives are accomplished.
On the other hand, project milestones are key points or events in a project that indicate the achievement of significant phases. They demonstrate the progress of the project as a whole, helping in the project scheduling and tracking and providing insights to stakeholders about the project’s progress.
Types of Project Deliverables
Take a look at the six types of project deliverables based on typical circumstances experienced by project management teams:
#1. Internal Project Deliverables
As the name of this type of project deliverables suggests, they refer to the outputs resulting from the work and creation of the project team, whose benefits are limited to team members and internal stakeholders. That means that they do not directly impact external stakeholders, customers, and clients.
An example of internal project deliverables is training employees on the application of new technology in the production of protective glasses that shield against artificial light.
#2. External Project Deliverables
Contrary to the previous type, external project deliverables are services or products directly intended for external stakeholders, customers, and clients. These deliverables play an important role in addressing the needs and expectations of individuals and organizations outside of the project team.
If we stay with the example of the production of protective glasses designed to shield against artificial light, the external project deliverables would be the high-quality protective glasses intended for sale to end users. These glasses are a tangible representation of the project’s success in delivering a valuable solution to the target market.
#3. Tangible Project Deliverables
The tangible project deliverables, often referred to as the concrete results of a project, are the products that customers or clients can use directly, and they represent the physical component of the project’s outcome.
These deliverables include a wide range of objects, ranging from tangible hardware products such as cellphones and machinery to various software programs that have become essential in our daily lives, such as mobile apps, productivity tools, and entertainment platforms.
#4. Intangible Project Deliverables
Intangible project deliverables are outcomes that cannot be physically held, but they produce a very important effect, primarily for those who have carried out the project. Intangible outputs generally go hand in hand with tangible project deliverables.
For instance, when you develop an extension of a popular board game that receives a positive response from players, it will result in an increased number of individuals playing the basic version as well, which is an intangible deliverable.
#5. Process Project Deliverables
Process project deliverables are incidental outputs that a team achieves and helps accomplish the main project goal. These deliverables include interim or supporting results generated throughout the project’s lifecycle that contribute to the successful completion of the core project goal. Let’s exemplify this to make it easier to understand.
Suppose you run a marketing campaign for a perfume store to increase online purchases. In that case, everything you have done to promote the campaign, target potential customers, and post on social media represents process outputs.
So, these process outputs are the intermediary results of your marketing campaign, not the final goal of increased online purchases themselves.
#6. Final Project Deliverables
Final project deliverables are the reason why you initiated the project and invested resources to achieve the goal. It refers to the end product or service intended for end users.
In this case, final deliverables look like an external outcome and show that the project is done. For example, if your company is developing an app to connect experts in the same industry, the next version of this imaginary app would represent the final project output.
How to Define Project Deliverables
The steps involved in creating project deliverables serve as a guide to navigating the project plan, monitoring its execution, and ultimately achieving successful project completion by delivering the intended project deliverables. Let’s see what they are:
#1. Identify the Main Requirements
To clearly define the project deliverables in a specific case, it’s necessary to recognize and determine the project requirements first. Project requirements involve the identification of desired outcomes, which serve as the basis for precisely defining the deliverables.
To ascertain this, you should gather relevant data from key stakeholders. For example, effective communication with clients is essential to understand their requests for the project. Engaging with consumers also makes it possible to better grasp their wants and expectations for the finished product.
This process enables the development of a project plan that fits the needs and requirements of the company’s objectives and resources.
#2. Determine Project Goals
This step holds significant importance as it shapes the strategies necessary to achieve the desired objectives. But first, start by defining the project’s goals. This includes a thorough understanding of what you intend to achieve, both in terms of the end results and the impact on stakeholders.
Once your project goals are crystal clear, the next crucial step is to develop a comprehensive plan, which will outline the steps and strategies required to achieve project goals. This process will help you shape the project’s deliverables, ensuring they are directly tied to your defined goals.
#3. Define Specific Tasks
After aligning stakeholder requirements and project goals, it is time for the third step, which involves translating project goals into concrete actions in the form of specific tasks. To define project deliverables effectively, break down the project into smaller, manageable units that provide clarity and a clear path toward achieving the project’s objectives.
Begin by identifying the key tasks, milestones, and activities necessary to accomplish each goal. Then, assign clear responsibilities and duties to each team member so everyone can understand the ultimate goal and how to contribute to its achievement.
As a final touch, clearly outline the sequence of tasks, dependencies, and deadlines, and document these specifically in a project plan because detailed planning is crucial for shaping project deliverables.
#4. Set a Timeline
This step entails allocating timeframes for completing activities by setting a schedule for the overall project and individual tasks.
When determining the project timeline, you should consider various factors that may impact the project’s progress, such as resource availability and potential problems or risks that may arise along the way.
Continuously monitoring and reviewing the project plan, making necessary adjustments, and addressing requirements are essential for completing all planned project deliverables.
#5. Create a List of All Deliverables
The final step involves identifying and familiarizing the team with each required deliverable for the project. The list of all deliverables should include:
- Providing detailed descriptions of the project deliverables.
- Specifying the requirements and expectations for each deliverable.
- Outlining the methodology and activities involved in achieving them.
This step is crucial as it ensures that everyone involved is well-informed about the relevant details of delivering each project outcome, ultimately ensuring their successful realization.
Project Deliverables Example
To ensure you have a thorough understanding of everything we mentioned so far, we provide you with a project deliverable example. This example involves a social media content project.
So, for a social media content project, the deliverables are content that is both interesting to look at and provides valuable information. This content can include videos, pictures, and text posts.
The content should grab and keep the audience’s attention while successfully spreading the brand’s message or promoting a product or service. The job could involve making a content calendar, designing visual assets, and writing captions or copy that gets people’s attention.
By giving the client high-quality social media content, the project helps the team build an active online presence and connect with their audience meaningfully.
Can Project Deliverables Change Over Time?
It is normal practice for project deliverables to change or develop as the project develops. Reasons for this include modifying the project’s needs, emerging new data, and evolving stakeholder and external influences.
Project deliverables can be reviewed and updated by project managers and stakeholders to ensure they continue to meet the project’s and its stakeholder’s needs.
Related to this, changes can be made to the project scope, timeline, budget, or resource management to fit the new deliverables and make sure they are still in line with the project goals.
4 Best Practices to Consider When Managing Project Deliverables
To successfully manage project deliverables, it is advisable to adhere to certain practices to ensure quality and timely completion, enhancing the project’s overall success. Below, we have selected a couple of the best practices to consider when managing project deliverables, so let’s take a look:
- Regularly Communicate and Update Stakeholders. Pay attention to the importance of stakeholders in project execution, Communicate with them, and ensure constant updates regarding the project’s progress.
In this way, you can gauge whether their expectations are fulfilled, identify any potential changes in requirements, and facilitate feedback. This approach promotes the overall success of project execution.
- Create an Effective Change Management Process. This practice is closely related to the previous one and involves adopting a flexible mindset when executing the project plan.
Be open to potential changes and deviations from the original method. By establishing good communication with stakeholders, you can adequately respond to their feedback, which may require adjustments and adaptations.
Additionally, be prepared to react and adapt to identified risks and issues, adjusting your plan to accommodate new circumstances.
- Define Clear and Measurable Deliverables. Precisely define project deliverables to ensure clarity and understanding of objectives and responsibilities within the team.
Clear delineation of deliverables is crucial for both the organization, as it facilitates monitoring and achievement of results, and stakeholders, as it prevents misunderstandings.
- Continuously Monitor and Evaluate Deliverables. In addition to clear deliverable definitions, continuous monitoring of their progress and evaluation of results is essential. That allows tracking the quantity and quality of achieved deliverables compared to the planned targets, enabling business process improvement and optimization.
Project deliverables are highly important indicators that demonstrate whether the effort invested in a project is worthwhile.
No matter if they’re tangible or intangible, internal or external, those deliverables provide insights into whether you are staying within the project scope, whether a change in approach and methodology is necessary, and what you can expect as the ultimate outcome of the project in relation to the set goal.
Therefore, pay close attention when projecting project deliverables as they form the foundation for understanding whether a project will be successful.
Project Deliverables FAQ
#1. Who oversees project deliverables?
The project manager typically oversees the project deliverables. They are in charge of making sure that every task is finished on time and meets quality standards.
#2. How do you describe a deliverable?
A project deliverable is a tangible or intangible item, document, result, or outcome produced as part of a project, often used to meet project objectives and satisfy stakeholders’ needs.
#3. Why are deliverables important in project management?
Firstly, they provide the project team with a clear focus and direction, ensuring everyone is aligned toward achieving project objectives.
Secondly, results/outputs show how things are going so the project manager can keep track of everything.
Thirdly, well-defined project deliverables help handle stakeholder expectations and allow effective project control, giving a base for monitoring project performance.
#4. What are project deliverables examples?
Here are a couple of examples of project deliverables across two different industries:
- Construction—Finished building or structure, architectural drawings, safety inspection reports.
- Marketing Campaign—Launch of a marketing campaign with ad creatives and promotional content.