So many projects, so many deliverables, so very little time.
If you’re a project manager, in any industry, chances are you have a lot on your plate. So much so that often the end results might suffer.
Between juggling projects, tasks, schedules, stakeholders, things tend to fall through the cracks. After all – we’re only human.
The question is if there’s a way to avoid this. After all the hard work and time that goes into each and every project, there must be a way to ensure good output, right?
Spoiler alert: The answer is yes.
But before we get to the how, let’s start the beginning with the what.
What are project deliverables?
It’s pretty simple. A project deliverable is any deliberate output created for a specific project.
To break it down, there are two types of deliverables in a project:
- Process deliverables – Those that play a role in reaching the project’s ultimate goal
- Project deliverables – Those that serve as the project’s ultimate goal
But within these two categories, it’s important to remember that project deliverables can come in many different shapes and sizes. A deliverable can be tangible or intangible, internal or external, and in any format, including reports, products, and more – all depending on the nature of the project at hand.
Project deliverable examples
Deliverables vary, from project to project, from company to company, and from industry to industry – making it almost impossible to list deliverable examples to fit everyone.
But for clarity’s sake, we chose a fairly relatable project to illustrate the process and to help you understand the role that different deliverables take.
Your initial list of project deliverables should encompass every one of your stakeholders and every phase of each component all the way up to the aggregated final result.
As seen in the example, often a deliverable is dependent on another deliverable to be completed first, especially when managing a project of a larger scope with multiple milestones.
Why are deliverables so important for project management?
Picture this: You’re managing a complex project with multiple stakeholders. You know the final objective and every stakeholder knows their responsibility.
But, you have no deadlines along the way, no milestones, no progress reports, no way to know that everyone is one the same, and nothing to share with the project’s sponsor.
The result? Not pretty.
The final deadline rolls around and some of the stakeholders are behind schedule, some are not aligned with the main objective, you are completely out of the loop… you see where we are going with this. Chaos ensues.
So, to avoid this complete and total disorder, it is crucial for project managers to ensure a tight schedule of high-quality deliverables and establish a cohesive approval process to guarantee that the progress is aligned with the specific project’s KPIs.
Disclaimer: Internal deliverables are as important external deliverables
A common but deadly mistake is not investing in the quality of internal deliverables. Many pass it off as just another unnecessary bureaucratic step in the long project process.
Wrong. The quality of your external deliverables is highly dependent on the deliverables submitted by you or your stakeholders throughout the entire process.
To go back to our website redesign example, if the wireframe is delivered haphazardly and late, it will affect the quality of the entire project. Every stakeholder depends on receiving high-quality deliverables so that they, in turn, can create the deliverables that they’re responsible for.
Glad you asked because that brings us to our next topic.
How to ensure high-quality deliverables
While you might not necessarily be the one to execute the deliverables, if you are responsible for their quality there is some essential preparation you should do before the kickoff meeting with your stakeholders.
- Clearly define every deliverable. If you find yourself adding deliverables during the development phase, you might have to alter the scope of your project which we all know can be a huge headache.
- Be thorough when outlining each deliverable. The more vague the outline, the more lengthy the back-and-forth with the stakeholder will be.
- Create and share a clear project phase schedule. This will help both you and the stakeholders track their progress and understand their role within the larger scope.
A quality checklist
Throughout the workday, you’re probably submitting, requesting, or reviewing multiple deliverables, and it’s easy to overlook certain mistakes or omissions. The problem is that these issues will always resurface
That’s why it’s important for you to lead by example, establish a well-oiled approval process, and hold the stakeholders to the highest standards. You can instill best practices and measure each deliverable with the use of the 6 C’s.
The 6 C’s of project deliverable quality:
- Concise: Does the deliverable focus solely on its original objectives?
- Clear: Is the deliverable coherent and easy to understand? Is it well structured and ready to be reviewed?
- Consistent: Is the deliverable aligned with project goals, and does it clearly communicate with all of the other deliverables?
- Correct: Is the deliverable error-free? Has it been carefully reviewed?
- Credible: Has the deliverable gone through sufficient testing if needed? Has it been proofed by a credible professional?
- Complete: Does the deliverable cover everything it should? Is it 100% ready for submission.
The 6 C’s should be a constant checklist for each and every deliverable that passes your desk.
The more experience you have, the longer your checklist will get. You can and should customize it to your specific projects in your specific industry.
But, most importantly, this checklist is made to be shared – No matter what the project, it’s important that there are clear standards in place that are relevant for any stakeholder.
Your list of project deliverables
We know that when happening upon this article, you were probably hoping to just get a list of deliverables that you need for your project so you could just get to work.
The bad news is that your list of deliverables is unique to you, your project, and your stakeholders.
The good news is that, just like your quality checklist, over time, you will have your own deliverable lists in place for your recurring projects.
The better news is that there are actually plenty of customizable templates out there to help make that task a whole lot easier.
And there you have it. All it takes is a little preparation, strong standards, a good communication and approval system, and you’re well on your way to ensure high-quality deliverables. Every time.