Project Deliverables Definition and Types (With Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project management professionals and managers use many techniques and tools to monitor and evaluate a project's progress and the team's success, of which the most commonly used technique is to manage the project deliverables. Project deliverables are the results or outputs of a team's efforts during the project. It's essential for a project manager or a management professional to understand what project deliverables are and how to evaluate them to help the team achieve success. In this article, we explain what project deliverables are, their various types, the differences between project deliverables and milestones, and some examples.

Project deliverables definition

From a broad perspective, the definition of project deliverables is the results or outputs of the team's efforts in the workflow of a project. Deliverables are often the results of specific types of input or efforts as the project progresses. Project management professionals and project managers often describe the deliverables as a concept that measures the inputs and outputs of a project. The managers track and monitor the various resources and materials that teams use on a project with the goal of producing the required deliverables.

The importance of project deliverables

Many organizations undertake big and complex projects. The organizations divide these projects into processes, components, categories, and other forms of classification to facilitate the efficient functioning of the project. Dividing the project into components is essential, as it makes it easier for teams to understand the purpose of the task they engage in, the immediate goals of the project, and the steps they need to take to accomplish their targets. Classifying and categorizing the project and the tasks into quantifiable parts enables the stakeholders to measure the project's progress. These quantifiable parts are the deliverables of the projects.

Project managers and project management professionals may choose to classify deliverables according to the project. Project deliverables may be internal or external. Deliverables relating to the functions within the organization are internal deliverables, such as internal communications between two teams in the same department. An external deliverable is a deliverable that affects the end-user or the consumer of the product or service, such as a software update to an operating system. Monitoring these deliverables enables managers to track the progress of the project. Deliverables also help them identify elements that hinder productivity so that they can rectify them.

Related: Essential Project Manager Technical Skills

Types of project deliverables

Deliverables may refer to a variety of concepts. Members of the project team may choose to define deliverables based on specific characteristics and traits. Deliverables can be tangible or intangible. They can be for external use or for internal use within the team or organization. The deliverables can also be the goal or the result of the team's efforts or they may be a part of the product or service that the organization provides. They simultaneously define end products and output components of the project that facilitate efficiency. Below are some of the key differences between project-oriented deliverables and product-oriented deliverables:

Project-oriented deliverables

  • Project-oriented deliverables facilitate and enable the team members to create achieve their goals and accomplish the targets of the projects by staying within the budgets and the deadlines of the projects.

  • These deliverables may take the form of a digital document comprising a compilation of data, software updates, or the team may also present it as equipment.

  • They may also serve as an important tool to provide project management professionals with the ability to enable workflow and increase productivity as required.

  • Project managers can also assign team members specialized tasks and facilitate teams in progressing and reaching the goal of the project.

  • These deliverables can vary in size and importance, as a project can produce a variety of deliverables depending on the significance and the scope of the project.

  • The three most commonly known project-oriented deliverables are the project plan, the budget, and the charter.

  • These deliverables facilitate and help the project managers define what the project is about and allow them to make informed and strategically significant decisions as the project progresses further.

Product-oriented deliverables

  • Product-oriented deliverables are the deliverables that the clients and the stakeholders of the organization expect to receive after the project has concluded.

  • Product-oriented deliverables are about the end products of the project, such as hardware, software applications, finished products, services, depending on the type of project.

  • Product-oriented deliverables define the purpose of the project and highlight the goals that the project teams have achieved throughout the lifespan of the project.

  • We can also term a project report that the clients and the stakeholders often expect to receive at the end of a production cycle as a product-oriented deliverable.

  • These deliverables can also include information about the contracts, expenses incurred during a project and other paperwork associated with a project's end products.

  • Product-oriented deliverables are dynamic and vary on a project-to-project basis depending upon the expectations of the clients and the stakeholders.

Related: What Is a Project Management Plan? With Tips and Examples

Project deliverables vs. project milestones vs. process deliverables

Project deliverables, project milestones, and process deliverables are three varying elements that relate to the workflow and the progress of a project and the inputs and outputs of the project. Below is a detailed explanation of these three elements:

Project milestones

The utility of project milestones are:

  • Project milestones are tools and techniques that project managers and team members utilize to describe and predict the progress the team makes throughout the life-cycle of the project.

  • Project management professionals implement the use of milestones as checkpoints or indicators of the team's success in accomplishing crucial project objectives and goals or completing essential tasks and making further progress.

  • If a team requires the client's approval for their product's design before starting with product development, the project manager can consider the design's approval as a project milestone that the team achieved.

  • Project milestones are essential in effectively managing long-term projects that the organization undertakes, as they help monitor the progress of the teams as they work to achieve the various goals of the project.

Project deliverables

These include:

  • Project deliverables are the end products that allow the project team members to achieve the targets and milestones set at the start of the project.

  • Developing the design of the product successfully to get the client's approval on the design is a project deliverable that the team uses to achieve the target of getting design approval.

  • Project managers and team members may choose to produce several project deliverables to accomplish targets at multiple points throughout a project until they reach final approval that the project manager uses to measure overall project success.

Process deliverables

They are:

  • Process deliverables are the techniques and tools that a team can use to make deliverables and accomplish their targets during the lifespan of the project.

  • Process deliverables encapsulate planning a project, creating strategies, making documents and other paperwork, efficiently sharing information and data, equipment, budgeting and dividing work amongst the team members.

  • Process deliverables typically relate to a specific project deliverable, such as if the product-oriented deliverable is to create a family sedan, a project-oriented deliverable may be the car's comfort and the process deliverable for this can be to design the seats.

  • Process deliverables are the steps the team undertakes to achieve results and encompass planning, creating documents, sharing data and information, equipment, resources, and software.

  • If your project deliverable is to manufacture a vehicle, a deliverable of the project is to put an efficient engine in the vehicle. The process deliverable of this project is how to build the engine efficiently.

Related: What Is a Work Breakdown Structure? (Step-by-Step Guide)

Project deliverables example

Below is an example of project deliverables:

Company A is a smartphone brand and they're currently working on an important project. The overall target of this project is to create their next premium generation of smartphones. There are many project deliverables they can produce to accomplish their targets and reach the various milestones throughout the whole process of manufacturing their phones. These project deliverables can include a variety of outputs and results, like project-oriented deliverables such as the blueprint of the phones or product-oriented deliverables such as the smartphone's camera or the smartphone itself.

The team responsible for the production of the phones uses process deliverables to determine each of the project deliverables and accomplish targets and achieve the milestones of the project. The team successfully identifies process deliverables that can boost productivity and increase team efficiency. This process deliverable or the efficient workflow they adopt relates to the software of smartphones. They identify ways to increase the number of tasks the phone can do at once with minimum stress on the hardware. This deliverable features all the various inputs necessary to develop the software or the output and presents it to the board and the stakeholders.

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