Deliverable is one of the most important aspects of project management. If you are about to work on a project but don’t entirely understand what is deliverables in project management, you are on the right page. This article might be your reference.

What is a project deliverable?

Deliverable is all products, services, or results that should be done to accomplish a project. It means that deliverables can be as massive as delivering the finished products to the clients or tangible items that help the accomplishment of the project such as reports. 

To put it simply, let’s see a project as something that has input and output elements. If you are using any data or resources in a project, those are the input. The result of the execution of the project is the output and it includes the deliverable. 

For outputs to be categorized as “deliverable” in project management, it should fulfill these criteria:

  • It’s within the project scope
  • Agreed by the stakeholders and internal team
  • It’s the result of a deliberate work
  • Has a specific role to fulfill the project objectives

Project deliverables vs objectives

You might think that you can use the word “deliverable” and “objective” interchangeably. Well, you can’t. It represents distinct concepts. A project objective is what the project is the goal of the project; what it tries to accomplish. It does not mean the end product that the project is trying to produce.

Objectives are the external part of a project while deliverables are the internal part. A project can have the objectives that might be: 

  • Generate profits
  • Bring more projects
  • Completing terms for certain certifications

Those points above are not deliverable because the clients or sponsors do not need to know that. Objectives impact your company, but not necessarily your clients. 

Deliverable classification

The common way to categorize deliverables is by dividing it into “internal” and “external” deliverables. 

Every work done that does not involve your clients or customers is internal deliverables. Meanwhile, if you work on something that directly accomplishes the client’s requests in external deliverables. 

Is managing your company’s budget belongs to internal or external deliverable? It’s internal. 

What about creating blog content or social media posts for your client’s marketing strategy? Yes, it’s external. 

However, if you’re still confused about the two, just ask yourself this question: Is this activity directly contribute to my revenue generation? If the answer is yes, then it belongs to external deliverables. 

Project deliverables vs milestones

Another thing that beginner project managers find it difficult to distinguish is the difference between deliverables and milestone. Milestone is the progress of the project that does not have to be delivered to the clients, customers, or sponsors. 

It remarks the end of a phase and that the project can proceed to the next phase. An example of a milestone is the completion of a house foundation. It is progress but you don’t deliver it to the clients. Hence, it is not deliverable. 

Deliverable example in project management

Let’s say you’re building a house. You can break it down like this: 

  • Project deliverables are the house itself and other pertinent documents such as designs and construction-related analyses that clients or sponsors need to review.
  • The objectives can be profit, more projects in that geographical area, build portfolios.
  • Project milestone covers anything that is useful to track the progress of the project such as the foundation, exterior, plumbing, and landscape. 

The bottom line

That’s the explanation of deliverables in project management. To ensure the project runs smoothly, make sure that you have set the deliverable in detail. Then, make sure you hand it over to the clients on time and as planned. 

Use Project Management System to make sure everything is on your hand. 

Related article: 5 Tips for The Most Effective Project Time Management