What Are Project Deliverables: The Ultimate Guide with Examples and Templates

13 min read

Whether you’re launching a groundbreaking product, executing a complex marketing campaign, or constructing a towering architectural marvel, every project requires planning and execution. 

At the heart of this process lie the “project deliverables”.

This comprehensive guide will dive into deliverables, exploring their definition, significance, and the essential steps to identify, plan, and execute them efficiently. 

Along the way, we will provide real-world examples and templates to illustrate how different industries and disciplines utilize deliverables to achieve project success.

Let’s unlock the potential to deliver projects that exceed expectations and drive lasting impact.

What are project deliverables?

Only 40% of organizations consistently achieve the full benefits of their projects. And here, deliverables come into play.

In project management, deliverables are the specific outputs, products, or results that must be achieved and provided to fulfill the requirements of a project. 

In essence, project deliverables are the measurable “milestones” that showcase progress and demonstrate the successful completion of various project phases.

A well-defined deliverable has several key elements and needs to be:

  • Specific: Deliverables must be clear, precise, and unambiguous in describing what needs to be accomplished or produced.
  • Measurable: Each deliverable should be quantifiable and measurable, enabling objective progress assessment and issue identification.
  • Time-bound: Deliverables are associated with specific deadlines, establishing a project timeline, and fostering accountability among team members (might using the RACI framework).
  • Client-oriented: Deliverables align with stakeholder requirements and are customer-centric, delivering value to clients or end-users.
  • Quality-focused: Deliverables must meet pre-defined quality standards to ensure client satisfaction and maintain project credibility.

Project deliverables can vary significantly based on the nature of the project, its scope, and the industry it belongs to. They range from physical items and documents to intangible outcomes like improved processes or increased customer satisfaction. 

Common categories of project outputs include:

  • Reports and documentation: These include project plans, feasibility studies, portfolio reports, and final project summaries.
  • Prototypes and products: In product development projects, prototypes, finalized products, or software applications are common deliverables.
  • Infrastructure and constructions: Construction projects yield tangible deliverables like buildings, bridges, roads, or other physical structures.
  • Marketing and advertising materials: Deliverables in marketing projects may include advertising campaigns, brochures, websites, or social media assets.
  • Training and workshops: In educational or training projects, deliverables can be the development of training materials, workshops, or e-learning modules.

The process of defining deliverables in project management begins during the project’s initiation phase. 

Key stakeholders collaborate to outline the project’s scope, objectives, and expected outcomes. As the project progresses, deliverables are refined and detailed, laying the groundwork for efficient execution and successful completion.

As we have explored the fundamental concept of project deliverables, let’s dive into the diverse categories encompassing different project outputs.

Types of project deliverables

Project deliverables come in various forms, each serving a specific purpose and contributing to the project’s overall success. 

This section will explore three primary project management deliverables categories: planning, internal, and external.

Let’s start with planning deliverables.

What are planning deliverables?

Planning deliverables refer to the deliverables to facilitate effective project planning and decision-making. 

These deliverables serve as essential reference points and guidelines for the project team, enabling them to strategize, allocate resources, and anticipate potential challenges.

Examples of planning deliverables:

  • Project scope statement: A clear and concise definition of the project’s objectives, deliverables, constraints, and assumptions.
  • Work Breakdown Structure: A hierarchical breakdown of the project’s tasks and activities, enabling better task management and resource allocation.
  • Project timeline and Gantt chart: A visual representation of the project’s schedule, showing task dependencies and milestones.
  • Resource allocation plan: Details on the allocation of personnel, budget, and other resources throughout the project.
  • Risk management plan: Identification and mitigation strategies for potential risks that could impact the project’s success.

P.S. We’ll discover all of them in the template section later on.

Having briefly explored the various planning project deliverables, let’s focus on the critical internal deliverables.

What are internal deliverables?

Internal deliverables are the outputs that are primarily intended for consumption within the project team or organization. 

Internal deliverables are often intermediary steps necessary to complete the final project outcome successfully.

Examples of internal deliverables include:

  • Team progress reports: Regular updates on individual and team progress, highlighting accomplishments, challenges, and action plans.
  • Task assignments and deadlines: Allocating tasks to team members with clear deadlines and responsibilities.
  • Research findings and analysis: Information gathered through research, market studies, or data analysis that informs decision-making within the project.
  • Project prototypes: Early-stage versions or models of the final product, allowing teams to evaluate and refine design concepts.
  • Project management documents: These include project plans, roadmaps, risk assessments, and resource allocation charts. 

Having examined the distinct internal deliverables in project management, let’s focus on the external project deliverables, which encompass the tangible outcomes for stakeholders beyond the project team.

What are external deliverables?

External deliverables are the outputs intended for clients, customers or other stakeholders external to the project team. 

These deliverables represent the project’s results and are often used to measure its success in meeting its objectives and client expectations.

Examples of external deliverables:

  • Completed product or service: The final version of the product or service that satisfies the client’s requirements.
  • Client reports and documentation: Detailed client-oriented reports outlining project progress, achievements, and future recommendations.
  • Marketing materials: Deliverables like brochures, promotional videos, or websites developed for advertising a product or service.
  • Training and user manuals: Documents providing instructions on how to use the delivered product or service.
  • Test results and certifications: Official test results and certificates, ensuring compliance with industry standards or regulations.

Now that we have a comprehensive understanding of the various project outputs, let’s compare them to other essential project elements to further grasp their significance in the project management process.

Comparing project deliverables with other project elements

It’s essential to distinguish deliverables from other project elements in order to properly understand their role and significance. 

This section will compare project deliverables with milestones, objectives, tasks, process deliverables, and product deliverables.

We’re going to start with the difference between deliverables and milestones.

Project deliverable vs. milestone

Project milestones are specific points in a project’s timeline that mark significant achievements or the completion of critical phases. 

While milestones indicate progress and act as reference points in the project schedule, deliverables are the outputs produced due to these accomplishments. 

Practical example:

  • Milestone: Completion of the prototype development phase.
  • Deliverable: The finalized product prototype ready for testing and evaluation.

Having examined the distinct relationship between project deliverables and milestones, let’s explore how project outputs align with the broader project objectives to drive successful project outcomes.

Project deliverable vs. objective

Project objectives are the goals and purposes a project aims to achieve. 

Objectives define the “what” of the project, while deliverables represent the “how” and “when” these objectives will be accomplished.

Practical example:

  • Objective: Increase market share by 15% within the next fiscal year.
  • Deliverable: Launch and implement a targeted marketing campaign to reach new customers.

Having gained an insight into aligning deliverables in project management with objectives, let’s shift our focus to the granular level and explore how deliverables relate to the specific tasks that drive project progress.

Project deliverable vs. task

Tasks are individual activities or actions that must be completed to accomplish deliverables and achieve project objectives. 

Tasks are the actionable steps that make up a project’s work breakdown, while deliverables represent the outputs of these tasks.

Practical example:

  • Task: Conduct market research to identify customer preferences.
  • Deliverable: Market research report summarizing customer preferences and market trends.

Having explored the connection between project deliverables and tasks, let’s now examine how they differ from process deliverables, which are crucial in ensuring efficient project execution and continuous improvement.

Project vs. process deliverable

Process deliverables refer to the documentation, guidelines, or materials generated during a project that facilitate the execution of tasks and project management activities. 

By contrast, project deliverables pertain to the specific outputs produced during the project’s life cycle. 

Process deliverables maintain consistency, efficiency, and quality throughout the project.

Practical example:

  • Project deliverable: Finalized architectural blueprints for a new building.
  • Process deliverable: Project management templates for progress tracking and risk analysis while constructing a new apartment building.

Having distinguished between project and process deliverables, let’s now compare project deliverables with product deliverables, representing the tangible outcomes delivered to clients or end-users.

Project vs. product deliverable

Product deliverables refer to the tangible outputs that are the direct result of the project and are delivered to the client or end-user. 

In contrast, project deliverables encompass all outputs produced during the project, including both interim and final results. 

Practical example:

  • Project deliverable: Marketing plan to promote a new software application.
  • Product deliverable: The fully developed and operational software application.

Now that we have explored the differences between project outputs and other project elements let’s shift our focus to practical applications and examine specific examples of deliverables in project management for different teams.

Examples of project deliverables for different teams

Project outputs vary significantly depending on the nature of the project and the specific goals of each team involved. 

This section will explore examples of project deliverables for different teams, demonstrating their distinct contributions to a project’s success.

We’ll start with the product development team and its deliverables.

Product development team deliverables

The product development team focuses on creating new products or enhancing existing ones. 

Their deliverables revolve around the actual product development process and include:

  • Product prototypes: Physical or digital prototypes that allow the team to test and refine the product design.
  • Product requirements documentation: Detailed specifications and feature lists that serve as guidelines for the product’s development.
  • Product testing reports: Results from extensive testing and quality assurance procedures to ensure a robust and reliable final product.

Top tip: Here is a great guide to creating a product requirement document (PRD) by Jira.

Having examined the specific examples of project deliverables from the product development team, let’s shift our focus to the IT team and explore the distinct outputs they contribute to project success.

IT team deliverables

The IT team handles technical aspects, infrastructure, and software development. 

Their deliverables focus on implementing and maintaining technology solutions and include:

  • Software applications: Delivering fully functional and tested software applications tailored to the project’s requirements.
  • System integration plans: Strategies and documentation for integrating different software systems to ensure seamless operation.
  • Security and compliance documentation: Ensuring the project meets security standards and regulatory compliance.

Piece of advice: Here is a comprehensive guide to system integration.

Now that we’ve explored the IT team’s contributions to project deliverables, let’s shift our focus to the research and development team and discover the innovative outcomes they bring to the project’s fruition.

Research and development team deliverables

The R&D team focuses on innovation and creating new solutions. Their deliverables involve exploring new ideas and advancing the organization’s capabilities and include:

  • Innovation proposals: Presenting new ideas and concepts for potential products, services, or processes.
  • R&D reports: Documenting findings from research activities and experiments.
  • Prototype demonstrations: Showcasing functional prototypes that demonstrate the viability of innovative concepts.

Pro tip: If you’re searching for ideation and innovation management functionality, PPM Express can provide you with both. 

Now that we have examined examples of specific project outputs from various teams, let’s focus on essential steps for effectively managing project deliverables, ensuring seamless execution and successful project outcomes.

Steps to managing project deliverables

Effectively managing deliverables in project management is crucial for ensuring project success, meeting objectives, and satisfying stakeholders. 

A well-structured approach to deliverable management helps keep the project on track, minimizes risks, and fosters collaboration among team members. 

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.” Let’s take the first step and start managing deliverables.

→ Step 1: Define clear and measurable deliverables

If you’re a project manager or business analyst, at the project’s initiation, work closely with stakeholders to clearly define the project deliverables. 

Each deliverable should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). 

Ensure that the deliverables align with the project’s overall objectives and contribute to meeting the client’s expectations.

Example: For a software development project, a clear and measurable deliverable could be completing a user registration module with specific functionalities, such as user sign-up, login, and profile creation.

→ Step 2: Break down deliverables into tasks

Once the deliverables have been defined, break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. 

Create a Work Breakdown Structure outlining the hierarchical structure of tasks, sub-tasks, and interdependencies. 

Assign responsibilities and deadlines for each task to promote accountability and efficient progress.

Example: Breaking down the user registration module deliverable into tasks, such as designing the user interface, developing backend logic, implementing database integration, and conducting testing.

→ Step 3: Set realistic timelines

Develop a project timeline that includes estimated start and end dates for each task and deliverable. 

Consider dependencies between tasks and allocate sufficient time for potential contingencies. 

Realistic timelines help avoid schedule overruns and ensure the timely completion of deliverables.

Example: Allocating two weeks for designing the user interface, three weeks for backend development, one week for database integration, and one week for testing to ensure a realistic timeline for completing the user registration module.

→ Step 4: Establish clear communication channels

Set up regular meetings, status updates, and reporting mechanisms to inform team members about progress, challenges, and changes. 

Encourage open communication and address any concerns promptly to maintain project momentum.

Example: Conducting weekly status meetings with the development team to discuss progress, roadblocks, and updates on the user registration module’s development.

→ Step 5: Monitor and track progress

Implement a reliable project management system or software to track the progress of deliverables and tasks. 

Regularly monitor KPIs and OKRs to assess progress against the project timeline and make data-driven decisions to keep the project on course.

Example: Using project portfolio management software like PPM Express to track the completion status of each task in the user registration module and visualize progress through Gantt charts and dashboards.

→ Step 6: Manage risks and mitigate issues

Identify potential risks that may impact the successful delivery of project deliverables. 

Develop a risk management plan to address and mitigate these risks proactively. Be prepared to adapt and adjust plans as unforeseen issues arise.

Example: Identifying the risk of potential security vulnerabilities in the user registration module and developing a risk management plan to conduct thorough security testing and address any vulnerabilities.

→ Step 7: Review and quality assurance

Regularly review the deliverables at various stages to ensure they meet the defined quality standards. 

Conduct thorough quality assurance checks and seek stakeholder feedback to validate that deliverables align with their expectations.

Example: Conducting a review of the user registration module’s design and functionality with stakeholders to ensure it aligns with their expectations and conducting quality assurance tests to verify that it meets defined standards.

→ Step 8: Obtain stakeholder sign-off

Before closing out each deliverable, obtain formal sign-off from relevant stakeholders. 

This approval indicates that the deliverable meets the specified requirements and is ready for further use or integration into the project.

Example: Requesting formal sign-off from the project sponsor and key stakeholders after demonstrating the user registration module’s functionalities and addressing any feedback or concerns.

→ Step 9: Document and archive deliverables

Maintain a comprehensive repository of all project deliverables, including associated documentation and reports. 

Properly archive and organize these materials to facilitate easy access and reference for future projects or audits.

Example: Creating a comprehensive repository that includes design documents, test reports, and code documentation for the user registration module, organized adequately for future reference or audits. For instance, use Sharepoint to create the repository.

→ Step 10: Celebrate achievements and learn from challenges

Recognize and celebrate the successful completion of deliverables and major milestones. 

Likewise, use any challenges or shortcomings as learning opportunities to improve processes and enhance future project outputs.

Example: Celebrating the successful completion of the user registration module with a team recognition event while conducting a retrospective to identify areas for improvement and learning from challenges encountered during the development process.

Having explored the essential steps for managing project deliverables, let’s focus on the significance of basic project documentation and its role in defining clear deliverables through templates.

Essential project documentation helps define deliverables [+ 8 handy templates]

Precise and well-structured project documentation clarifies project objectives and requirements and plays a pivotal role in defining deliverables with clarity and precision. 

Let’s explore a set of essential project documentation templates that aid in defining project deliverables efficiently.

  1. Project charter: This serves as the foundational document for any project. It outlines the project’s purpose, objectives, scope, and key stakeholders. This template provides a comprehensive overview of the project’s context, helping to set the stage for defining clear and aligned deliverables.
Project charter template download for free by PPM Express

Here, you can get your project charter template.

  1. Work Breakdown Structure: This template breaks the project’s deliverables into manageable tasks and sub-tasks. It provides a hierarchical representation of all the work required to accomplish the project’s objectives, aiding in resource allocation and task management.
Work Breakdown structure template download for free by PPM Express

Here, you can get your WBS template in Google Sheets and Google Slides.

  1. Project and portfolio dashboards: These comprehensive visual representations display KPIs, progress, and status for individual projects and the entire project portfolio. They serve as guiding references, helping the project team make informed decisions, monitor achievements, and ensure successful project execution and portfolio management.
Project and portfolio dashboards in Power BI

Here, you can discover up to 200 PowerBI reports for your project and portfolio activities.

  1. Project Statement of Work: This comprehensive document defines the project’s scope, objectives, and deliverables in detail. It outlines what each deliverable should achieve and provides the criteria for success, serving as a guiding reference for the project team throughout its execution.
Project statement of work template download for free by PPM Express

Here, you can get your Project Statement of Work template.

  1. Project budget management plan: This template outlines the financial aspects of the project, including the allocated budget, cost estimation methods, and cost control measures. 
Project budget template download for free by PPM Express

Here, you can get your project budget management template.

  1. Gantt chart: This chart visually represents the project schedule, showing the start and end dates of tasks, milestones, and deliverables. 

You can use PPM Express to create a roadmap for your project.

  1. Risk register: This template identifies potential risks affecting the project deliverables. It documents each risk’s impact, probability, and mitigation strategies, aiding in proactive risk management and contingency planning.
Project risk register template download for free by PPM Express

Here, you can get your risk register template.

  1. Resource allocation plan: This is a structured document that outlines the allocation and utilization of various resources, including human resources, equipment, and budget, throughout the project. It defines how resources will be distributed to specific project tasks and deliverables, ensuring efficient utilization and optimization of available resources for successful project execution.
Resource allocation plan template download for free by PPM Express

Here, you can get your resource allocation plan template.

Now that we understand the importance of basic project documentation and its role in defining deliverables through templates, let’s explore a range of tools specifically designed to aid in efficiently managing project deliverables.

Tools for managing project deliverables

Project management software solutions provide collaborative platforms, communication channels, and organization features, ensuring seamless coordination among team members and stakeholders. 

This section will explore various categories of tools commonly used for managing deliverables in project management, along with examples of software in each category.

Project and portfolio management software

Project management software offers comprehensive platforms to plan, track, and execute projects efficiently. These tools facilitate task management, resource allocation, and progress tracking, making them essential for managing project deliverables.

Example software: Monday.com, Smartsheet, Microsoft Project Online, and MS Project Desktop

In addition to project management tools there are portfolio management platforms. These provide a centralized and integrated environment for project data, allowing stakeholders to monitor project progress, assess risks, and make informed decisions.

Example software: PPM Express, Workfront, OnePlan

Collaboration and communication tools

Collaboration and communication tools enable real-time interaction among team members, fostering efficient collaboration on project deliverables. They facilitate discussions, document sharing, and instant messaging, promoting seamless teamwork.

Example software: Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)

Document management systems

Document management systems offer secure and organized storage for project-related files and deliverables. They ensure easy access, version control, and collaboration on important project documentation.

Example software: SharePoint, Google Drive, Notion, Coda, Microsoft Loop

Issue and bug tracking tools

Issue and bug tracking tools help identify, log, and resolve issues that may arise during project execution. They ensure the timely resolution of problems related to deliverables.

Example software: Jira Software, Bugzilla, Redmine

Reporting and analytics software

Reporting and analytics tools provide insights into project progress and performance related to deliverables. They enable data-driven decision-making and facilitate clear communication with stakeholders.

Example software: Power BI, Tableau, Google Looker Studio (formerly Data Studio)

Having familiarized ourselves with various effective tools for managing project deliverables, let’s focus on valuable tips to enhance the management process further and ensure successful project outcomes.

Tips for managing project deliverables

Effectively managing project outputs is vital for project success and meeting stakeholder expectations. 

To ensure seamless execution and achieve desired outcomes, project managers should adopt efficient strategies. In this section, we will provide valuable tips for successfully managing deliverables in project management:

  • Clear scope and alignment: Define a clear scope for each deliverable and ensure alignment with project objectives and stakeholder expectations. This will prevent scope creep and keep the project on track.
  • Engage stakeholders early: Involve key stakeholders early in the project to gather their input on deliverables. Regularly communicate progress and seek feedback to make necessary adjustments and ensure buy-in.
  • Agile adaptation: Embrace agile project management principles to foster flexibility and adaptability in delivering iterative results. Regularly reassess priorities and adjust deliverables based on evolving project needs.
  • Empower collaboration: Encourage effective collaboration among team members to ensure seamless coordination and timely delivery of deliverables. Utilize collaboration tools and hold regular meetings to foster communication.
  • Quality assurance and testing: Implement a comprehensive quality assurance process to validate deliverables against established standards. Thoroughly test each deliverable to ensure its functionality and compliance with requirements.

Remember, managing project deliverables requires a well-structured approach, effective communication, and the right tools to streamline project execution.

So, if you want a powerful tool to streamline your project and portfolio deliverables, try PPM Express. This comprehensive project portfolio management platform simplifies deliverable planning, tracking, and reporting. 

Take control of your project deliverables today with PPM Express!

What Are Project Deliverables: The Ultimate Guide with Examples and Templates
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