Have you ever tried to write an assignment without a rubric, or build IKEA furniture without a picture of the final product? If so, you know how frustrating it can be to make progress without a plan. The same is true for project management — delivering a successful project requires a well-defined set of deliverables.
A project deliverables template is an effective way to define and document the specific items that will be delivered as part of a project. It can be used to create a shared understanding of the deliverables between the project team and stakeholders, and can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page with respect to what is expected.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of using a project deliverables template, and we’ll provide a simple template that you can use to get started.
What are deliverables, exactly?
Deliverables are best understood as the tangible results of a project. In other words, they are what you produce as a result of completing your work. They can be anything from final products to interim milestones and everything in between.
In business project management, deliverables are something that is usually defined early in the project planning stages. This is because they are critical to understanding the end goal of the project and how each step along the way contributes to that goal.
For example, some deliverables might be
- A website that is complete and live
- A set of marketing materials that are ready for distribution
- A functional software application
- A prototype that meets the requirements
As you can see, there is a wide range of possibilities when it comes to project deliverables. The key is to tailor them to your specific project and ensure that they are clear and concise.
Why your business needs deliverables
As mentioned, projects are incredibly frustrating without a set of deliverables. But why is that? What is it about these tangible items that make them so necessary?
The answer is simple: they help to define the project. When everyone involved understands what is expected of them, and has a tangible item to reference, the chances for success increase dramatically. The deliverables template defines not only what needs to be done, but also by when. This eliminates ambiguity and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
In addition, deliverables can help to track the progress of a project. By creating a checklist of items that have been completed, you can easily see what still needs to be done — and by whom.
Different types of deliverables
When speaking about deliverables, there are two main dichotomies to consider: tangible versus intangible, and internal versus external.
Tangible deliverables are items that can be physically touched or seen, such as a report, a prototype, or a set of instructions. Intangible deliverables, on the other hand, are items that exist only in the mind, such as a plan, an idea, or a goal.
External deliverables are items that are delivered to someone outside the team, such as a client or stakeholder. Internal deliverables, meanwhile, are items that are delivered to someone within the team, such as a manager or supervisor.
Each of these types of deliverables can be broken down into further categories. For example, a tangible deliverable might be a report, which can be further divided into sections such as an introduction, methodology, findings, and conclusions.
Similarly, an intangible deliverable might be a goal, which can be subdivided into items such as objectives and Milestones.
It is important to understand the different types of deliverables before creating a deliverables template. This will ensure that the template is as effective as possible.
Setting successful deliverables
When deciding what should be included in a deliverables template, it is important to consider what would be most helpful for the project. Not all projects are the same, and as such not all deliverables templates will be identical.
Some things to consider when setting successful deliverables include:
- The type of project: Is it a new product? A website redesign?
- The audience: Who will be using the product or service?
- The timeframe: When does the project need to be completed?
- The resources: What is available to complete the project?
With these factors in mind, it is much easier to create a set of deliverables that will be successful.
Why use a project deliverables template?
It’s not easy creating a plan, but it can be even more difficult to stick to it unless you have a concrete way to define your deliverables. A project deliverables template is an effective way to do just that. It provides a simple, yet comprehensive, framework for clearly outlining what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.
Using a template also ensures that everyone involved in the project has a clear understanding of the deliverables and their respective deadlines. This can help to avoid confusion and minimize the chances of important tasks being overlooked.
Components of an effective template
When piecing together your own project deliverables template, there are a few key components you’ll want to include:
1. A brief project overview. Nothing too crazy — just a few sentences to provide a quick snapshot of what the deliverables are and what they’re for.
2. A list of all deliverables. This should be a comprehensive list that outlines every task that needs to be completed in order to meet the project’s objectives.
3. The deadlines for each deliverable. Deadlines are key — they provide a sense of urgency and help to keep everyone on track.
4. The responsible party for each deliverable. This can be an individual or a team, depending on the project.
5. Any associated notes or comments. This is where you can get into more detail about each deliverable, including any specific instructions or requirements.
There may be other elements that you want to include in your template, but these are the basics. Once you have a good understanding of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by, you can start tailoring the template to fit your specific project’s needs.
Creating your template: an example
So that you can get an idea of what goes into a project deliverables template, let’s take a look at an example.
The first step is to come up with a list of all the deliverables that might be associated with your project. This could include items such as:
- A final product or report
- Documentation or user manuals
- Work products such as designs, prototypes, or code
- Finished slides or a presentation
- Testing results
- Certificates of completion or quality
Once you have a list of possible deliverables, it’s time to start organizing them. One way to do this is by grouping them by type. For example, you might have one section for final products, another for work products, and so on. Within each section, you can then list the specific deliverables in order of completion.
If your project is ongoing, you may also want to include a section for upcoming deliverables. This could include items such as:
- Milestones that need to be met
- Deliverables that are due soon
- Any changes or updates to the deliverables list
Once you have your template set up, it’s easy to use. Just fill in the specific deliverables for your project, and you’re ready to go. Having a defined list of deliverables will help you stay on track and ensure that all your project’s components are accounted for.
Implementing your templates successfully
So, you’ve put together a great set of templates for your project deliverables. But how do you make sure they’re actually used effectively?
There are a few key things to keep in mind:
1. Make sure the templates are easy to use. This is critical, especially for busy team members who already have a lot on their plate. The templates need to be user-friendly, with clear instructions and easy-to-follow formatting.
2. Educate team members on how to use the templates. It’s not enough to just provide the templates; you also need to make sure team members are familiar with them and know how to use them. This may require some training and/or explanation, but it’s well worth the effort to ensure everyone is on the same page.
3. Use the templates as a guide, not a rule. The templates should be used as a guide, not a rule. They’re there to help team members define deliverables, but they’re not meant to be followed blindly. Each project is unique, so team members should always use their best judgement when determining what’s best for the specific project.
With these tips in mind, you can help ensure that your team’s templates are used effectively and efficiently, resulting in better project outcomes.
Project Deliverable Template: Bottom line
So, there you have it — a simple, yet effective way to define project deliverables. By using a project deliverables template, you can avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page with regard to what needs to be delivered.