Understanding the Role of Deliverables in Project Management
What are deliverables in project management? This question often needs to be clarified for people who are new to the field. This blog post explains what deliverables are and what they entail.
We will also discuss the different types of deliverables and highlight the relationship and differences between deliverables, objectives, and milestones.
By the end of this post, you will have a clear understanding of deliverables and their role in project management!
What are Deliverables?
Deliverables in project management are the expected outputs of a given project. They generally include a tangible item, such as a document, model, or product.
Deliverables can also be more intangible—like a service or improved processes—but they are typically measurable and agreed upon by the stakeholders and project manager before starting a project.
Ultimately, they prove that the project has been completed and demonstrate when it is time to move on to other tasks, making them very important for success in any project!
The Different Types of Deliverables
Several types of deliverables can be used in project management. These include:
External or Internal Deliverables
External deliverables, also known as product deliverables, are delivered to clients, stakeholders, customers, etc. They form a crucial part of the project’s output. They are usually focused on providing tangible outcomes or results.
An example of an external deliverable is a software product or a website.
On the other hand, internal deliverables remain within the project team or organization and help attain success, often but not always limited to achieving an external deliverable.
Examples of these include reports, risk assessment documents, and process documentation.
Tangible or Intangible Deliverables
Tangibles deliverables are physical outputs or items that can be seen and touched – such as reports, images, videos, etc. These types of deliverables provide concrete evidence of the success of a given project and often need to be tested for quality assurance before being released.
Intangible deliverables involve services, processes, or improvements in organizational systems. These may include training, templates, an improved customer service system, or process documentation created to improve an organization’s productivity and efficiency.
Objectives, Milestones, And Deliverables
Objectives, milestones, and deliverables are all critical terms in project management that are often confused and used interchangeably. But what do they mean, and how do they differ?
What Is the Difference Between an Objective and a Deliverable?
At first glance, objectives and deliverables may seem like the same thing. After all, they are both end goals of a project or plan. The distinction between them is that objectives identify what needs to be accomplished to achieve a given aim, while deliverables describe specifically what will be produced to accomplish that goal.
Objectives are concerned with expressing an emphasis on outcomes rather than outputs. Deliverables, conversely, focus on the specific product or result that needs to happen for the objective of a project to be achieved.
Think of objectives as directional goals, while deliverables are tangible elements with associated milestones and deadlines.
Now, speaking of milestones.
What Is the Difference Between a Milestone and a Deliverable?
A milestone is a marker that indicates the progress of a project at a specific point in time. It typically signals when one phase of the project has been completed and provides the foundation for tracking and measuring progress.
Milestones are usually associated with a tangible deliverable, such as when a document is due, or the software product is delivered. However, it’s important to note that a milestone does not have to be associated with a specific deliverable and may serve to mark progress in the project.
Deliverables are the end products or services created due to a project. They can be tangible or intangible, but they must meet specific criteria to be considered successes. Milestones provide feedback on how well deliverables are progressing and offer the project manager and team insights into potential areas for improvement.
Knowing the differences between objectives, milestones, and deliverables will help you create targeted projects with appropriate timelines and expectations.
Examples of Objectives, Milestones, And Deliverables In Practice
Let’s look at two examples to better understand the relationship and differences between the three.
The first involves the creation of a new website. The objective is to create an online presence that engages users and promotes brand awareness. The milestone would be launching the website on the agreed-upon date with all features intact. The deliverable would be the website itself, along with supporting documentation.
The second example involves creating a new HR software system for an organization. In this case, the objective is to create a comprehensive and user-friendly system that helps streamline processes and improve efficiency.
The milestone would be the release of the completed software system on the agreed-upon date. The deliverable would be the software system and any supporting documents or materials necessary for its use and maintenance (such as user guides).
As you can see, objectives provide direction while milestones track progress, but the deliverables provide tangible evidence of a project’s success. Understanding deliverables and how they fit into the overall project management process is essential for ensuring success.
Familiarizing yourself with deliverables, objectives, and milestones makes you better equipped to create compelling projects that meet goals and have measurable success metrics.
Keep Track of Deliverables With UPPWISE
UPPWISE is a project management software platform that provides visibility and control over deliverables. With UPPWISE, you can easily create and track objectives, milestones, and deliverables within the same system, allowing you to manage projects more effectively.
The robust reporting capabilities of UPPWISE also allow you to quickly identify any gaps in your project plans, ensuring the successful delivery of all deliverables – so why wait? Get started today
Founder of Uppwise, Gioacchino has solid hands-on, experience and vision in the PPM Market, gained as a startupper and founder of a number of software & cloud-services companies. During the last two years he has lead the company transformation, shifting from the offering of a traditional PPM product to a new suite of SPM, APM and CWM products.