What Is Project Delivery? A Short Guide to Quick Start

10 min read

Knowing how to deliver a project is crucial for success. But what is project delivery, and how can you start quickly?

This guide will break it down for you. We’ll walk you through the basics of project delivery, from defining what you want to achieve to managing challenges. By the end, you’ll have a solid foundation to kick off your projects successfully.

So, if you’re ready to learn the ropes of project delivery and start your journey toward successful project completion, let’s dive in.

What is project delivery? 

At its core, project delivery is turning a plan or idea into a tangible result. It’s the journey from concept to completion, where you take a vision and make it a reality. But let’s break it down further to understand its key components:

  • Defining the project: The delivery of a project starts with a clear definition of what you want to achieve. This includes setting specific goals and OKRs, outlining the project’s scope, and understanding the desired outcomes. The more precise your definition, the easier it becomes to navigate the project.
  • Planning and organizing: Once you know your aim, the next step is to create a roadmap. Project forecasting and planning involves identifying the tasks, resources, and timelines to reach your objectives. This plan serves as your guide throughout the project’s lifecycle.
  • Resource allocation: Effective project delivery requires careful allocation of resources, including human resources, finances, equipment, and materials. Ensuring you have the right resources available at the right time is critical for success.
  • Risk management: Projects rarely go exactly as planned. That’s why it’s essential to identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. Being prepared for unforeseen challenges helps keep the project on track.
  • Execution and monitoring: With the plan in place, it’s time to implement it. Project teams execute tasks, and project managers monitor progress to ensure everything stays on course. Regular check-ins and adjustments are essential to align the project with its goals.
  • Quality assurance: Delivering a successful project isn’t just about finishing it; it’s also about delivering quality results. Quality assurance processes ensure that the final product meets or exceeds expectations.
  • Communication and collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration are the backbone of project delivery. Team members need to work together seamlessly, share information, and address issues promptly to keep the project moving smoothly.
  • Completion and evaluation: As the project nears its end, there’s a final push to complete all remaining tasks. Once the project is finished, it’s crucial to evaluate its success, learn from challenges, and apply these lessons to future projects.

Now that we’ve explored the delivery of a project, let’s dive into the difference between a delivery manager and a project manager

What is the difference between delivery manager vs. project manager?

The roles of a delivery manager and a project manager may appear similar at first glance, but they serve distinct purposes within an organization. Understanding the differences between these two roles is essential for effective project management and successful project delivery.

AspectProject ManagerDelivery Manager
Role FocusManages individual projectsOversees a portfolio of projects and initiatives
ScopeSpecific project objectives within constraintsBroad organizational goals and portfolio success
AccountabilityProject successPortfolio success
Resource ManagementProject-level resource allocationPortfolio-level resource optimization
Risk ManagementProject-specific risk assessment and mitigationPortfolio-wide risk management
Strategic AlignmentProject alignment with project scopePortfolio alignment with organizational strategy
CommunicationStakeholder communication at the project levelAlignment with organizational leadership
Decision-Making AuthorityWithin the project’s scopePortfolio-level decision-making
Continuous ImprovementProject-specific process optimizationPortfolio-wide process enhancement

Both roles are critical in achieving effective project delivery within an organization, and understanding their distinctions is essential for efficient project management.

Now that we’ve explored the differences between delivery managers and project managers, let’s dive into the stages of project delivery.

What are the stages of project delivery? 

Project delivery is all about translating plans into action. Let’s get practical and dive into how to navigate each project stage effectively:

Step 1. Initiation

The initiation stage sets the foundation for your project. It’s the point where you define your project’s goal and why it matters. Let’s explore how to kickstart your project on the right foot.

  • Define your project’s scope: Start by clearly defining the boundaries of your project. What is in scope, and what is out of scope? Be specific to avoid scope creep. Consider conducting a project audit based on previous project data.
  • Create a project charter: Develop a project charter document that outlines project goals, objectives, key stakeholders, a resource breakdown structure, and the overall purpose. This sets the project’s direction and provides a reference point throughout.

Step 2. Planning

Planning is where you turn your project vision into a detailed roadmap. It’s all about breaking down the work, setting timelines, and ensuring you have the necessary resources.

  • Task breakdown: List all required tasks to achieve your project goals. Break them down into smaller, manageable pieces to create a task hierarchy.
  • Set milestones: Identify critical milestones that mark significant progress points. Milestones help you track progress and ensure alignment with the project timeline.
  • Resource allocation: Allocate resources based on task requirements and available workload. Ensure you have the right team members, equipment, and materials.
  • Budgeting: Develop a detailed budget for all project costs, including labor, materials, and contingencies.

Step 3. Execution

This is where the rubber meets the road. The execution stage is about implementing your plan, requiring effective communication and coordination.

  • Task assignments: Assign specific tasks to team members, clearly defining responsibilities and expectations.
  • Regular check-ins: Hold regular team meetings to discuss progress, address issues, and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of all project activities, including changes, issues, and decisions made during the execution phase.
  • Quality control: Implement quality checks and inspections to ensure work meets the desired standards.

Step 4. Monitoring and controlling

While executing, you need to keep a close eye on how things are going. Monitoring and controlling ensure that your project stays on course and adapts to changes effectively.

  • Key metrics: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor project progress. Track these metrics regularly to identify deviations from the plan.
  • Change management: Implement a change control process to manage any changes to project scope, timeline, capacity, and resources effectively.
  • Risk mitigation: Continuously assess project risks and have mitigation plans in place to address potential issues promptly.

Step 5. Quality Assurance

Quality matters. Ensuring your project delivers high-quality results is essential for meeting objectives and satisfying stakeholders.

  • Quality standards: Define clear standards and ensure all team members understand and adhere to them.
  • Testing and inspection: Inspect regularly to verify that deliverables meet the established quality criteria.
  • Feedback loop: Encourage open communication among on-site and remote team members to report and address quality-related concerns promptly.

Step 6. Closure

The finish line is in sight. The closure stage involves wrapping up your project and ensuring that all loose ends are tied up neatly.

  • Handover: Ensure a smooth handover of project deliverables to the client or relevant stakeholders. Confirm that all project objectives have been met.
  • Project review: Conduct a project review or post-mortem to analyze what went well and identify areas for improvement in future projects.
  • Documentation and reporting: Assemble all project documentation, including final project reports and files, for future reference.

These stages provide a structured framework for managing projects efficiently, from initiation to closure. While the sequence remains relatively consistent, the level of detail and complexity within each stage may vary depending on the project’s size and complexity. Effective project managers adapt and tailor their approach to suit the specific needs of each project.

Now that we’ve covered the stages of project delivery, let’s shift our focus to the crucial element that ties it all together: the project delivery plan.

What is a project delivery plan? 

A project delivery plan is the essential roadmap that guides your project from inception to completion. The detailed strategy outlines how you’ll achieve your project’s goals, deliverables, and objectives within the specified time frame and project budget. Think of it as your project’s GPS system, providing turn-by-turn directions for the journey ahead.

Why is a project delivery plan important?

Before diving into the specifics of creating a project delivery plan, it’s crucial to understand why it’s so important:

  • Clarity and direction: A well-crafted plan provides a clear and detailed path for your project team to follow. It ensures everyone knows what needs to be done and how to do it.
  • Resource allocation: With a plan in place, you can allocate resources more efficiently to increase their productivity. This includes assigning tasks to team members, estimating budget requirements, and determining the necessary materials and equipment.
  • Risk management: A delivery plan helps identify potential risks and challenges early on. By recognizing these issues in advance, you can develop strategies to mitigate them, reducing the chances of costly setbacks.
  • Communication: A project plan serves as a communication tool. It keeps stakeholders informed about project progress, timelines, and milestones, fostering transparency and trust.

Now, let’s explore how to create an effective project delivery plan.

What are the key components of a project delivery plan?

The key components of a project delivery plan are the building blocks that transform project goals into actionable steps, ensuring a clear and structured path to success.

  • Project scope: Start by defining the scope of your project. What are the specific goals, objectives, and deliverables you aim to achieve? Clearly articulate what is included and what is excluded from the project.
  • Project timeline: Create a timeline (consider using a Gantt chart) that outlines the project’s phases, milestones, and deadlines. This helps in setting expectations and tracking progress.
  • Resource allocation: Identify the resources required for each phase of the project. This includes human resources, materials, equipment, and project budget estimates.
  • Task breakdown: Break down the project into smaller, manageable tasks. Assign responsibilities (by using RACI) for each task to team members or departments.
  • Risk assessment and mitigation: Identify potential risks and challenges affecting the project’s success. Develop strategies to mitigate these risks and contingency plans for unforeseen events.
  • Quality assurance: Define the quality standards and criteria that must be met for project deliverables. Include procedures for quality control and assurance.
  • Communication plan: Outline how project communication will be managed. Specify who needs to be informed, how often, and through which channels.
  • Monitoring and reporting: Describe how project progress will be monitored and reported. This includes regular status updates, performance metrics, and mechanisms for addressing deviations from the plan.

Having explored the key components of a project delivery plan, let’s discuss what you need to create this essential roadmap.

What do you need to create your project delivery plan?

The process of creating your project delivery plan involves collaboration, technology, and adaptability, empowering you to craft a dynamic roadmap for project success:

  • Gather stakeholder input: Collaborate with key stakeholders, including clients, team members, and subject matter experts, to gather feedback and insights. This ensures that the plan aligns with expectations and requirements.
  • Use project management tools: Use project management software like PPM Express to create and manage your project plan. These tools can streamline the planning process and facilitate collaboration by providing Gantt features to clarify project timelines.
  • Iterate and update: A project delivery plan is not set in stone. As the project progresses, be prepared to iterate and update the plan to adapt to changing circumstances or new information.

Remember that a well-crafted project delivery plan is a dynamic document that evolves alongside your project. It’s a valuable tool for project managers and teams to stay organized, make informed decisions, and ultimately, deliver successful outcomes.

Now that we understand a project delivery plan, let’s explore the various methods you can employ to achieve successful project delivery.

What project delivery methods can you use? 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the delivery of the project. The method you choose depends on the nature of your project, your organization’s preferences, and the specific requirements of your stakeholders. 

Let’s explore some of the most commonly used project delivery methods:

What is the waterfall project delivery method?

The Waterfall approach is like a series of stepping stones where each step must be completed before moving to the next. It’s a method used in various industries, such as product development, where tasks are completed one after another, following a predetermined sequence.

Key characteristics of the waterfall approach:

  • Sequential phases: Consider it a series of connected phases, like building blocks.
  • Structured and predictable: Each phase has a clear start and finish, with little room for changes.
  • Meticulous planning: Extensive planning is done upfront to outline the entire project.

Let’s now contrast the structured Waterfall approach with the dynamic Agile approach.

What is the Agile project delivery method?

Agile is akin to a series of short, focused sprints in a race. It’s a dynamic and collaborative method used in various fields, like software development, where teams work closely together to incrementally deliver small, valuable project pieces.

Key characteristics of the Agile approach:

  • Iterative progress: Instead of one giant leap, it’s all about making continuous, small steps forward.
  • Adaptability: Allows for changes and improvements as the project evolves.
  • Customer-focused: Prioritizes delivering what the end-users or customers need most.

Now, let’s shift our focus from the Agile approach to explore the versatile Hybrid approach.”

What is the hybrid project delivery method?

A hybrid approach is like blending your favorite flavors to create a unique recipe. It combines elements from different project delivery methods, allowing project managers to customize the process to suit their project’s specific needs and objectives.

Key characteristics of the hybrid approach:

  • Flexibility: It’s adaptable, allowing project managers to pick and choose the best practices from different methods.
  • Tailored to the project: A customized approach that aligns with the project’s unique requirements.
  • Balanced approach: Combines structured phases with room for flexibility and adaptation.

After examining the best project delivery methods, let’s discover how to accelerate the delivery of the project.

How can you deliver a project fast?

Whether you’re managing a small-scale project or a complex portfolio, achieving swift project delivery can lead to a competitive edge. Here are some best practices to help you deliver projects with speed and precision:

  • Clear project definition: Clearly define the project’s objectives, scope, and expected outcomes. A well-defined project sets the foundation for efficient delivery. Invest time in meticulous planning. Break the project into manageable tasks, set milestones, and create a realistic timeline.
  • Agile methodologies: Agile methodologies like Scrum and Kanban promote incremental progress and adaptability. Regular feedback and iterative development keep projects on track. Form cross-functional teams that include members with diverse skills and expertise. This accelerates decision-making and problem-solving.
  • Effective communication: Foster open communication among team members, stakeholders, and clients. Promptly address any roadblocks or issues. Keep project documentation up-to-date. Detailed records of decisions, changes, and progress help prevent misunderstandings.
  • Streamlined processes: Identify and eliminate redundant tasks or processes that can slow down the project. Streamline workflows for efficiency. Leverage project management tools like PPM Express and automation to reduce manual effort and improve accuracy.
  • Risk management: Identify potential risks early in the project and develop mitigation strategies. Being prepared for challenges can prevent delays. Keep a close eye on project risks throughout the delivery process. Adjust plans as needed to address emerging issues.
  • Resource optimization: Allocate resources wisely. Ensure team members have the skills and tools needed to work efficiently. Utilize resource planning and management tools to optimize resource allocation.
  • Monitor key metrics: Define and regularly monitor key performance indicators (KPIs). Use data-driven insights to make informed decisions. Implement quality control processes to ensure that work meets established standards.

To streamline your project and portfolio management and accelerate project delivery, consider trying PPM Express. 

PPM Express is a comprehensive platform that can help you easily manage projects, products, and portfolios of any size. It offers robust planning, tracking, and reporting tools, empowering you to achieve your project goals faster and more efficiently. 

Try PPM Express today and experience the benefits of streamlined delivery of the project.

What Is Project Delivery? A Short Guide to Quick Start
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