Understanding Project Deliverables
On the surface, "deliverable" looks like just another fancy word for the product or process created as a result of a project. Until you look deeper. Deliverables are "outcomes" produced as a result of project tasks, activities and decisions, and as such, they must be identified, specificed, designed, scheduled, produced, tested, accepted and implemented. Deliverables are produced throughout the project management process, and may be interim or final. Within any project environment, deliverables will likely fall into three categories: project deliverables, planning deliverables and activity deliverables.
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Project deliverables are the planned results for the project, consisting of products, services and related outcomes. Planning deliverables are produced to execute and complete a given project, including Business Case proposals, Statement of Work documents, Governance Plans, project reviews and related items. Activity deliverables are produced at a granular level, relating to specific project tasks, including status reports, meeting agendas, purchase orders and related items.
Deliverables specification is the process by which deliverables are described and documented in order to:
#1 Commit "concept" to paper.
#2 Form a basis for review and negotiation.
#3 Confirm requirements.
#4 Clearly set expectations.
#5 Secure consensus and acceptance.
To meet these objectives, deliverables must be described in sufficient detail so that actual results are not left to the imagination. Consider the following example, which description tells a better story?
The Project: Desktop Inventory Project
Deliverables Description #1: Inventory report and recommendation.
Deliverables Description #2: Inventory report documenting the current location, serial number and hardware configuration of all desktop computers, monitors, printers and peripherals, along with a recommended solution for physical asset tagging and inventory control.
Steps - performing the project deliverables analysis
Project Deliverables Analysis:
How will the deliverable be used?
Who will use it?
Should you build or buy?
How much will it cost?
How will it be tested?
How will it be maintained?
Are there any alternatives?
How will the deliverable be produced?
When is it due?
Is it an interim deliverable or a final deliverable?
Planning Deliverables Analysis:
What planning deliverables are required to complete this project?
How much time will it take to produce each required deliverable?
When is each due?
What formats will be used?
Who will be responsible?
Who must accept and approve?
How will each deliverable be updated and maintained?
Activity Deliverables Analysis:
What activity deliverables are required in this project?
How will activity deliverables be produced?
Who is responsible?
What formats will be used?
How often will activity deliverables be required?