Best Practices

The Ultimate Guide to Effective Project Deliverables (With Examples)

Jonathan Friedman
May 12, 2021
The Ultimate Guide to Effective Project Deliverables (With Examples)

Are you looking to understand better "what are project deliverables?" Or, are you looking for project deliverables examples? Then, you've come to the right place.


Think about the last time that your team worked on a project together. It doesn't matter what project it was.

Reflect on this: what was the objective? What tangible or non-tangible things did you get from completing that project? Did you get anything from it?

What you're reflecting on is a project deliverable, and they're an essential sign of project success. Without a deliverable to show, your project likely wasn't a success.

We're here to talk about project deliverables. We'll also talk about how you can gear your future projects towards that measurement of success. Plus, we'll give you examples of deliverables that you can reach for.

Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.

What are project deliverables?

The term "deliverable" is likely one of the most commonly used words in your office. Most office environments use the term to depict any effect that came from a pre-determined cause.

This means that there is a cause-and-effect relationship. The deliverable is the effect. The cause is whatever you and your team do to make the deliverable.

However, in project management, a deliverable is a little bit more specific. In project management, deliverables indicate the health of a project and the team's success that was working on that project. A deliverable in project management is known as a project deliverable.

A project deliverable is a specific outcome that someone creates due to working on the project in question. No matter what the project is or where you are in the project development process, there are project deliverables to consider.

A project deliverable can be many things, including a document, a result, a product, a piece of equipment, a type of software, or the action's approval.

If you're wondering whether or not a specific metric is a project deliverable, use the following criteria:

If the outcome you're thinking of doesn't meet one or many of these criteria, it is not technically a project deliverable.

Internal vs. external deliverables

Companies across multiple industries have developed two different kinds of deliverables. These are internal and external deliverables.

An external deliverable includes work that employees do to fulfill demands from clients or customers. Also, this can consist of work that employees do to gain more business. 

An internal deliverable is work that employees do aside from doing business with clients and customers. This may include doing taxes, keep up with transactions, and creating business documents.

There is one big difference between internal and external deliverables. External deliverables bring in revenue. Internal deliverables are essential, but they do not generate revenue as external deliverables do.

Instead, internal deliverables focus on business maintenance.

Project deliverables vs. project objectives

While project deliverables and project objectives go hand in hand, they are not the same thing. Your team should use project objectives to create its list of project deliverables.

Because of this structure, your project objectives are going to be broader than your project deliverables. In fact, your project objectives will include any benefits or other outcomes that you're expecting. This is as you develop and implement a project deliverable.

Project objectives focus on the larger picture of a business's things from a project.

Project deliverables vs. process deliverables

Process deliverables are often interchanged with project deliverables. In actuality, they are different terms.

Process deliverables mark the steps that you need to take to create project deliverables. Often, process deliverables are the documents and other records that a company accumulates as they're working on a project.

It's important to note that these documents are typically saved for internal stakeholders and the project team. These documents are not made for client or customer consumption.

Here are a few examples of process deliverables that your company may use in the project development process:

It is possible to run a successful project without these documents or process deliverables. However, it would make it much more challenging to meet the objectives that your team has set.

Deliverables vs. milestones

If you haven't had much experience with project management deliverables, it may seem that everything is a deliverable. Some individuals believe that every stepping stone or objective point within a project is a deliverable.

However, this isn't the case.

Milestones keep track of time. They do not affect a project's objectives. Instead, they keep track of project progress.

Companies may use milestones to track the creation of a deliverable, but they are not the same. 

Project deliverables examples

We've distinguished the term "project deliverables" from similar names. Now, it's time to crack down on some of the project deliverables that you and your employees may see on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list. We're sure that you could add some of your project deliverables to this list.

Just make sure that the deliverable meets the criteria that we talked about earlier. If stakeholders disagree with the product, the team didn't deliberately create the product, or the product won't help your team reach the project's objectives. The thing in question is not a project deliverable.

Defining project deliverables

Before you and your team start working on a project, you all have to decide what your project deliverables will be. Remember: someone must deliberately make the project deliverable for it to be as such.

Planning out your project's deliverables ahead of time can help you and your team more clearly define what the deliverables of that particular project are going to be. In turn, you can see what products were deliberate and what products weren't deliberate.

First, you must consider that every single deliverable has two parts:

  1. The deliverable itself
  2. The acceptance criteria for the deliverable

You need to know what project deliverable you're looking at defining and then evaluate the criteria that stakeholders have for that particular deliverable. This will vary from company to company.

Project deliverables definition

The first part, defining the deliverable, involves working backward. Your team has to understand the project's objectives before they can try to explain the project's deliverables.

Without clearly-defined objectives, you're likely going to be left with a list of things that don't qualify as deliverables. This is because they are not likely to fall in line with the project's objectives.

How can you develop a list of project deliverables without having clearly defined project objectives?

The Tough Questions

So, to define your deliverables, you and your project team need to ask one another a series of questions. These will help you formulate a clearer idea of what you all want to accomplish by completing this project. Plus, it will lead you to make a list of project deliverables that can help.

Answer these questions together and formulate a list of deliverables that you feel will help the project development process.

Project deliverables acceptance criteria

Next, you need to think about your company or client's requirements for the deliverables that you and your team have listed. Arguably, this is the hardest part of defining a project's deliverables.

The requirements that we're speaking about are those items or characteristics that will make a project deliverable acceptable for the company or client you're working with.

If your project deliverable doesn't meet these criteria, your client will request changes. This can lead to an ongoing list of problems that your team will then have to combat. This includes scope creep from increasing project scope and going out of budget to provide revisions.

To prevent this tumbling of events, you need to make sure that you, your team, and your company or client are clear on the project's requirements and deliverables. 

The Tough Questions

Here are some questions that you and your team may want to ask when you're evaluating whether or not a deliverable is going to meet the requirements that the client or company you're working with has:

Keep in mind that you and your team are likely going to need to meet the client's requirements and requirements that some industry expert has set forth. These are market standards that every company needs to meet.

Don't forget process deliverables

As we explained earlier, process deliverables are also vital for you and your project team to track. Process deliverables will help your team keep track of your project deliverables while ensuring that you're meeting every requirement that you should.

As you work more and more on defining these deliverables, you and your team can implement standard practices. Your company or establishment may already have a few expected deliverables, whether project deliverables or process deliverables.

Having a standard to work off of is helpful when you and your team face a deliverable that you've dealt with in the past.

The Tough Questions

However, every once in a while, your team needs to come up with process deliverables without a template or standard to work off of. Here are some questions that you and your team can work through to define the right process deliverables for your project:

All of these questions can help you and your team decide which stakeholders you need to keep in close communication with regarding particular process deliverables. Plus, it will help you and your team keep requirements and due dates in mind throughout the project development process.

Why project success criteria matters

The requirements and criteria that you and your team consider when listing and developing project deliverables matter. These are the standards by which stakeholders will determine the success of a project.

If you don't meet these criteria, the project fails. Therefore, you and your team have been unable.

Typically, companies don't like defining failure. Instead, they define success and then say whether or not you met that success. 

For example, projects have a timeline and budget that they have to meet. If the project doesn't follow those criteria, it has failed. Even if customers were happy with the product, you have been unable to meet the expectations you and your team put forth.

Although, stakeholders typically have a favorite project management KPI to go by. Whether that's the budget or customer satisfaction, it's essential to take note of it.

Whatever criteria your stakeholders find most important should be your team's driving force through the entire project developing process. We should warn you that this doesn't mean that it's okay to neglect other essential criteria for the project.

Types of project success criteria

There are two kinds of project success criteria: project management criteria and deliverables criteria.

Project management criteria help you and your team look at the business side of project management. Simply put, it helps you and your project team determine whether or not you've done the project the right way.

Project management criteria are often a list of to-dos that project management teams have to go through to meet project standards. Here are a few examples:

Success criteria based on deliverables look at whether or not your team can handle multiple project deliverables throughout a project's development. The better that your team manages these deliverables, the better your project will turn out.

How to show project deliverables to stakeholders

When the entire project team is ready to show the stakeholders the deliverables, you need to compose a project manager's report. As the name suggests, the project manager is the leading composer of this document.

We urge you to consider personalizing your report to each project. Furthermore, you might want to personalize it to each stakeholder.

The more customized the report is, the better that the individual in question can read the report. Plus, if you're highlighting things that that individual cares about, they're more likely to approve the deliverables that your team listed.

Managing project deliverables

When it comes down to it, juggling multiple deliverables during a project is not easy. No matter your team's size or expertise, managing these deliverables may be one of the most challenging parts of the project development process.

That's why we've constructed a list of some of our most treasured tips for managing project deliverables.

Think about the following tips the next time that you and your team are about to tackle a project:

We could go on and on. Managing deliverables takes much work, but incorporating these tips and tricks will help you and your team stay ahead. 

Conclusion

When it comes to managing project deliverables, even the best project management teams get stumped. It's not easy to juggle so many moving parts at once.

That's why one of our top tips for any project management team is to invest in excellent project management software. TrueNxus is a fantastic choice for those looking for a project planning platform that will also improve communication among your project team members.

Try out TrueNxus today for free and see how it can help you and your team improve its current project management strategies.