Goal: Define project deliverables

After you establish the objectives of your project, you define the actual product or service that meets those objectives. This product or service is called a deliverable. Where appropriate, you can record information about the deliverables in your project.

Tip: This article is part of a series of articles within the Project Map that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project.

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number 1  Define the deliverables     A deliverable is tangible as well as verifiable. To be verifiable, the deliverable must meet predetermined standards for its completion, such as design specifications for a product (like a new car) or a checklist of steps that are completed as part of a service (like maintenance of factory machinery).

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Deliverables have stakeholders     There are two kinds of stakeholders: those who receive the finished product or service, such as a company's customers (external), and stakeholders such as team members who depend on the deliverable to do their own work (internal).

Deliverables have standards for completion    Grade and quality are two standards that stakeholders must agree on to complete a deliverable that will meet its objectives. For example, the agreed-upon grade for a new car might be an inexpensive commuter model as opposed to a luxury sedan.

Quality is the degree of defect and workmanship within the agreed-upon grade. For example, the grades of a luxury sedan and a commuter car may be different, but the same high standards may be set for the quality of both vehicles.

Organize your project tasks around the deliverables     A project can have one or many deliverables. You can organize your project's tasks around the deliverables in several ways:

  • Assign each deliverable to a separate phase of the project, and use a milestone that represents the completion of both the deliverable and the phase simultaneously.

    For example, a project to construct a building can have one phase with a deliverable of "finish the exterior of the building," and the deliverable for a later phase may be "complete the landscaping."

  • Group similar deliverables or deliverables with the same stakeholders in a phase. This method allows you to schedule a team to work on a project until the deliverable is handed off. Then the team can move on to other projects.

    For example, all routine maintenance tasks can be organized in one phase of the project, corresponding to the dates when they need to be performed. The maintenance engineers can be assigned to multiple projects containing the different maintenance jobs they are assigned to.

  • Group deliverables that are worked on during the same time period into phases that span that time period. This is useful for projects where trade-offs can be made in the scope and quality of the deliverable to meet a fixed finish date.

    For example, if the conversion of a factory production line must be completed by the date that the first product is delivered to suppliers, there may be phases for each month leading up to the finish date that contain the tasks that must be started or completed during that month. So that slipped tasks don't affect the overall progress of the project, tasks that are not finished by the end of the phase are often completed separately after the team moves on to the next phase.

  • Create inter-project dependencies on deliverables from other projects. For example, a project to construct a building may not be able to begin until another project, to design a series of buildings, delivers the blueprints. You can create an inter-project dependency between a task in the construction project and the specific blueprint deliverable for that building.

Number 2  Add supporting information about a task     When you want to keep supporting documentation about tasks in your project, you can use any or all of the following methods.

Click all of the following that apply:

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