In project management, deliverables can provide teams with a path to reach the expected outcomes of a project. Meeting deliverables can help teams continue to make progress so they can accomplish the project goals. If you’re a project manager, you may want to know about some ways you can help your team meet deliverables so they can achieve successful outcomes. In this article, we define project deliverables and provide a list of eight tips for meeting deliverables to help guide your planning during a project.
What are deliverables?
In project management, deliverables are the results of the work completed during a project. Deliverables, which are part of the project scope, show progress or completion of the project’s objectives. Deliverables can have many forms, such as the finished product or service at the end of a project or documents outlining a team’s progress toward the project outcome. Some examples of project deliverables include a new mobile application and a project scope statement. A project can have various deliverables, and they may vary based on its size or purpose. There are several types of deliverables, which include:
These deliverables are the outputs required to complete a project. Teams meet internal deliverables to demonstrate progress toward the project outcome. While they’re a necessary part of a project, the customer never sees the internal deliverables. For example, an internal deliverable may be a testing strategy the team uses to evaluate a software update before releasing it to the public.
In contrast to internal deliverables, external deliverables are the final products or services delivered to customers at the completion of a project. These deliverables may also be known as product deliverables. An example of an external deliverable is the launch of a company’s new website.
A tangible deliverable is a physical or tactile product or service that a project produces. Clients or stakeholders often consider these deliverables to be the outcomes of the project. For example, the new hardware a company installs as part of its technology upgrade is a tangible deliverable.
Intangible deliverables are the opposite of tangible deliverables. While these deliverables have no physical presence, they’re often the measurable outcomes of a project. An example of an intangible deliverable is the number of new users who download a mobile application after its release.
8 tips for meeting deliverables
Throughout a project, it’s important to meet deliverables to ensure the team continues working toward the project outcomes. Here are eight tips you can use to help your team meet deliverables effectively:
1. Communicate with key stakeholders
Before beginning a new project, it’s important to communicate with key stakeholders, such as company managers or clients, to understand their requirements for the project. Have a meeting with stakeholders and ask questions to help you understand the purpose of the project and their expected outcomes. During this meeting, ask the participants how they prefer to receive project deliverables to make sure you can meet their requirements. For example, you may ask how often they prefer to receive status reports to review the team’s progress. This communication can help ensure you’re meeting their expectations for deliverables.
2. Define the deliverables
It’s important to define the deliverables to develop a clear understanding of the project outcomes. With key stakeholders, determine the deliverables they expect the team to produce throughout various project phases. Create an estimated timeline for producing each deliverable. Discuss what deliverables can serve as milestones or goals a team achieves at various intervals throughout a project to show stakeholders the status of the project. Once you’ve defined the deliverables, make sure all key stakeholders review and approve them so everyone understands the goals of the project.
3. Gather requirements
When you’ve defined the deliverables, gather the requirements for each one. These requirements can help you understand the priorities for each deliverable. They specify the steps the team can take to meet the deliverable successfully. For example, a requirement for a deliverable may be the response time of an application when a user makes a request. Teams can meet the requirement for this deliverable when they achieve the desired response time. Gathering these requirements can help you keep the team working toward the project outcomes.
4. Identify metrics
It’s important to identify the metrics you can use to measure each deliverable to ensure you’re meeting it successfully. Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you evaluate a team’s progress toward the project outcomes. Make sure the metrics you choose are quantifiable and align with the requirements of the deliverable. For example, a KPI may be the cost of resources allocated for a deliverable. Identifying these metrics can help you lead a team to meet the deliverables as they continue making progress toward the project goals.
5. Establish clear deadlines
During a project, it’s important to create a timeline to outline the deadlines of each deliverable. This timeline can help team members understand how much time they have for each deliverable. When establishing these deadlines, consider factors such as the size of the team, their work schedules and any vacation time team members may have over the duration of a project. It’s helpful to anticipate potential delays for a deliverable so you can consider those when building the timeline. Once you have these deadlines established, share them with the team and key stakeholders so everyone understands the project timeline.
6. Provide deliverable documents
As a team works on a project, provide documentation to key stakeholders to demonstrate the team’s progress toward the project outcomes. If stakeholders have asked for these deliverables in a specific format, such as a weekly status report, make sure you’re providing them correctly. Use clear language to ensure everyone can understand the deliverable documents. Some examples of deliverable documents include work breakdown structures, test plans, budgets, and change order requests. Providing these deliverables can help you show stakeholders how the project is progressing toward the expected outcomes.
7. Motivate team members
To keep meeting deliverables, it’s helpful to motivate team members to work together toward their shared goals. Make sure they understand the goals of the project and the requirements for each deliverable so they know the expectations for their work. Delegate tasks to team members that align with their strengths and interests so they’re motivated to produce quality work. Communicate with your team regularly and celebrate the completion of key deliverables, such as a product prototype. Motivating team members can encourage them to keep meeting the deliverables to ensure successful project outcomes.
8. Monitor progress
As the team continues to meet deliverables, it’s important to monitor their progress so you can keep the project on schedule. Refer to the KPIs and other metrics you established to measure the team’s progress on deliverables. Have regular meetings with team members to discuss their work and gather feedback about the project. During these meetings, you can identify potential risks that may affect project deliverables and discuss ways to minimize those risks. When you monitor a team’s progress, you can show stakeholders how they’re meeting deliverables to achieve the project goals.