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What Are Deliverables for a Project and Why Are They Important?

Most projects go through several stages depending on how large or complex they are. In the initial stages the expected outcomes are decided, and the planning is done with the objective of achieving those outcomes within the constraints of time, budget, and quality.  In a complex project, there are several things that can go wrong. The planning may not have been sufficient. The expectations may have been different for each stakeholder, the budget may be inadequate. These problems in planning or in execution will usually surface only when someone realizes that the progress of the project is slow, or the outcomes are different from expectations.  At this point a significant amount of work has already gone in. To do a course correction or to bring the entire project back on track will be challenging. The effort that went into the project and the effort required to set things right could have been avoided if the issues were spotted at an earlier stage.  What could be done to ensure that such wasted efforts can be avoided? How can the issues be identified before they become a drain on all resources? This is where identifying and defining the deliverables for a project plays an important role. Why Are Deliverables Important for Project Management?Projects that are big and complex need to be broken down into stages, processes, components, categories, or any other classification that could make it easier to understand what is happening on a day-to-day basis. Without such a classification, it would be hard for anyone to understand what the work is that is happening, how it contributes to the project or even why it is needed.Dividing the project and tasks into small measurable parts helps all stakeholders measure the project progress. These small parts are the deliverables.  Project Managers may tend to classify deliverables according to their preferences or the nature of the project. A deliverable may be internal or external. A task that does not have an impact on the customer would be classified as an internal delivery. For example, it could be a piece of internal communication. An external deliverable may be an update to the website or app. By closely tracking these deliverables, you can make sure that the project is staying on track. Any part of the project that is not meeting the outcomes can be identified and rectified at an early stage. Project Manager’s Role in Building Project DeliverablesIt falls to the Project Manager to group the various stages of the project into sets of deliverables that can be completed and measured at brief time intervals. This assures all the stakeholders that the project is going smoothly according to plan and allows for enough transparency across the different teams working on the project. When defining a deliverable, it’s important to include guidelines in terms of what would be the acceptable quality, and what constitutes a deliverable being completed. The effectiveness of a project plan depends on how clearly deliverables are defined. By measuring the quality, timeliness, and frequency of these deliverables, you can be reassured that the project is progressing in a way that is on track to achieve the desired outcomes.  A project plan, or a status report are also deliverables. There is a distinction to be made here between project deliverables and product deliverables. While project deliverables track important variables that measure the health of the project, they do not relate directly to adding value to external customers. Project reports can improve the confidence of external stakeholders but are not directly related to a solution for the customer.  Product deliverables, on the other hand, relate to those deliverables that contribute to a product or solution for customers. By including both kinds of deliverables in a plan, you can ensure that apart from the work on the product there is also a robust mechanism in place to track progress according to predefined and expected outcomes. Deliverable Vs. Milestone: What’s the difference?A milestone is a term that is often confused with a deliverable. Both concepts are distinct and each of them serves a different purpose. A milestone signifies reaching a particular phase in a project, while a deliverable deals with meeting a smaller goal that is more clearly defined. There can be overlaps between deliverables and milestones. For example, meeting a deliverable may coincide with or result in reaching a milestone. Milestones signify different stages in a project. Tracking milestones alone will not give you a clear idea of how well the project is progressing. Milestones are achieved by completing a set of activities that could involve several deliverables. Without tracking the deliverables there is no way to ensure that a project is meeting its goals in terms of quality and expected outcomes. Checking progress only at milestones may lead to a lot of wasted effort and the need for course correction at an advanced stage. Milestones are too few in each project to provide an accurate checkpoint for progress. Deliverables always deal with a tangible outcome or result that can be measured, while milestones can be conceptual. Both are important to a project, but a focus on deliverables will ensure that project goals are met, and the outcome is closer to what was expected.Should You Use Project Management Software for Your Deliverables?As with most things, new and evolving software has had a big impact on project management. As projects become larger and more complex, it becomes difficult for a project manager or even a team to keep track of all the deliverables and all the issues affecting them. A robust project management software can make the task a lot easier for everyone involved. Using project management software would help the project at every stage. Even in the planning stage, a software tool could prompt users to define each deliverable and the expected outcome more accurately. It could also show how it is linked to other deliverables and where exactly it fits in the bigger picture. It also helps when all stakeholders have access to the deliverables that are important to them, and they can be monitored continuously and in real time. One important question to be answered is if the project is too small or has too few activities involved in it, should the team make the effort to use a tool? If the components and activities are straightforward and can be completed in a short timeframe, there is no real value add by introducing a new tool or software. Instead, the new process would only add unnecessary time and effort to the project.  Another important consideration is to think about whether the new tool or software would meet the expectations of all the stakeholders involved. Any change made to how the project is managed should not disrupt the ways in which the other stakeholders get updates or communication related to the project. In such cases where things do change, the stakeholders should be brought on board to the new way of working.Why Manage Your Deliverables with Project Management Software?The amount of advantages and features that project management software offers makes it an easy decision to use one. It makes life easier for everyone involved. The harder choice is to decide which software to use. A range of project management software tools are available based on the project needs. You can pick software or tools that you find most compatible for the organization or for the project. Deliverables provide a way to check the health of a project by measuring the progress of work against the pre-defined expected outcomes. By keeping track of deliverables, you can carry out quick course corrections and find issues before they become major roadblocks to the project.Rising Importance of Deliverables Project Management is not a new development. Some of the tools used are over a hundred years old (GANTT chart was introduced in 1917). In the last couple of decades in the 20th century software in project management started to flourish.  The rise and speed of the internet has enabled bigger and more complex projects that are spread out globally. Labor costs move job roles to different countries where labor is available at a cheaper rate. Teams tend to be more diverse and distributed today. There is also an emphasis on meeting requirements quickly and delivering value to the customer in a shorter amount of time. In this environment of rapid development, and changing nature of the workforce, it has become even more important for a project manager to focus on deliverables to make sure the project is set to achieve its desired outcomes. 

What Are Deliverables for a Project and Why Are They Important?

10K
What Are Deliverables for a Project and Why Are They Important?

Most projects go through several stages depending on how large or complex they are. In the initial stages the expected outcomes are decided, and the planning is done with the objective of achieving those outcomes within the constraints of time, budget, and quality.  

In a complex project, there are several things that can go wrong. The planning may not have been sufficient. The expectations may have been different for each stakeholder, the budget may be inadequate. These problems in planning or in execution will usually surface only when someone realizes that the progress of the project is slow, or the outcomes are different from expectations.  

At this point a significant amount of work has already gone in. To do a course correction or to bring the entire project back on track will be challenging. The effort that went into the project and the effort required to set things right could have been avoided if the issues were spotted at an earlier stage.  

What could be done to ensure that such wasted efforts can be avoided? How can the issues be identified before they become a drain on all resources? This is where identifying and defining the deliverables for a project plays an important role. 

 Deliverable for a Project

Why Are Deliverables Important for Project Management?

Projects that are big and complex need to be broken down into stages, processes, components, categories, or any other classification that could make it easier to understand what is happening on a day-to-day basis. Without such a classification, it would be hard for anyone to understand what the work is that is happening, how it contributes to the project or even why it is needed.Deliverables for Project Management

Dividing the project and tasks into small measurable parts helps all stakeholders measure the project progress. These small parts are the deliverables.  

Project Managers may tend to classify deliverables according to their preferences or the nature of the project. A deliverable may be internal or external. A task that does not have an impact on the customer would be classified as an internal delivery. For example, it could be a piece of internal communication. An external deliverable may be an update to the website or app. 

By closely tracking these deliverables, you can make sure that the project is staying on track. Any part of the project that is not meeting the outcomes can be identified and rectified at an early stage. 

Project Manager’s Role in Building Project Deliverables

It falls to the Project Manager to group the various stages of the project into sets of deliverables that can be completed and measured at brief time intervals. This assures all the stakeholders that the project is going smoothly according to plan and allows for enough transparency across the different teams working on the project. 

When defining a deliverable, it’s important to include guidelines in terms of what would be the acceptable quality, and what constitutes a deliverable being completed. The effectiveness of a project plan depends on how clearly deliverables are defined. By measuring the quality, timeliness, and frequency of these deliverables, you can be reassured that the project is progressing in a way that is on track to achieve the desired outcomes.  

A project plan, or a status report are also deliverables. There is a distinction to be made here between project deliverables and product deliverables. While project deliverables track important variables that measure the health of the project, they do not relate directly to adding value to external customers. Project reports can improve the confidence of external stakeholders but are not directly related to a solution for the customer.  

Product deliverables, on the other hand, relate to those deliverables that contribute to a product or solution for customers. By including both kinds of deliverables in a plan, you can ensure that apart from the work on the product there is also a robust mechanism in place to track progress according to predefined and expected outcomes. 

Deliverable Vs. Milestone: What’s the difference?

A milestone is a term that is often confused with a deliverable. Both concepts are distinct and each of them serves a different purpose. A milestone signifies reaching a particular phase in a project, while a deliverable deals with meeting a smaller goal that is more clearly defined. There can be overlaps between deliverables and milestones. For example, meeting a deliverable may coincide with or result in reaching a milestone. 

Milestones signify different stages in a project. Tracking milestones alone will not give you a clear idea of how well the project is progressing. Milestones are achieved by completing a set of activities that could involve several deliverables. Without tracking the deliverables there is no way to ensure that a project is meeting its goals in terms of quality and expected outcomes. 

Checking progress only at milestones may lead to a lot of wasted effort and the need for course correction at an advanced stage. Milestones are too few in each project to provide an accurate checkpoint for progress. 

Deliverables always deal with a tangible outcome or result that can be measured, while milestones can be conceptual. Both are important to a project, but a focus on deliverables will ensure that project goals are met, and the outcome is closer to what was expected.

Should You Use Project Management Software for Your Deliverables?

As with most things, new and evolving software has had a big impact on project management. As projects become larger and more complex, it becomes difficult for a project manager or even a team to keep track of all the deliverables and all the issues affecting them. A robust project management software can make the task a lot easier for everyone involved. 

Using project management software would help the project at every stage. Even in the planning stage, a software tool could prompt users to define each deliverable and the expected outcome more accurately. It could also show how it is linked to other deliverables and where exactly it fits in the bigger picture. 

It also helps when all stakeholders have access to the deliverables that are important to them, and they can be monitored continuously and in real time. 

One important question to be answered is if the project is too small or has too few activities involved in it, should the team make the effort to use a tool? If the components and activities are straightforward and can be completed in a short timeframe, there is no real value add by introducing a new tool or software. Instead, the new process would only add unnecessary time and effort to the project.  

Another important consideration is to think about whether the new tool or software would meet the expectations of all the stakeholders involved. Any change made to how the project is managed should not disrupt the ways in which the other stakeholders get updates or communication related to the project. In such cases where things do change, the stakeholders should be brought on board to the new way of working.

Why Manage Your Deliverables with Project Management Software?

The amount of advantages and features that project management software offers makes it an easy decision to use one. It makes life easier for everyone involved. The harder choice is to decide which software to use. 

A range of project management software tools are available based on the project needs. You can pick software or tools that you find most compatible for the organization or for the project. 

Deliverables provide a way to check the health of a project by measuring the progress of work against the pre-defined expected outcomes. By keeping track of deliverables, you can carry out quick course corrections and find issues before they become major roadblocks to the project.

Rising Importance of Deliverables 

Project Management is not a new development. Some of the tools used are over a hundred years old (GANTT chart was introduced in 1917). In the last couple of decades in the 20th century software in project management started to flourish.  

The rise and speed of the internet has enabled bigger and more complex projects that are spread out globally. Labor costs move job roles to different countries where labor is available at a cheaper rate. Teams tend to be more diverse and distributed today. There is also an emphasis on meeting requirements quickly and delivering value to the customer in a shorter amount of time. 

In this environment of rapid development, and changing nature of the workforce, it has become even more important for a project manager to focus on deliverables to make sure the project is set to achieve its desired outcomes. 

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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Risks can be hugely detrimental to projects and lead to massive losses in both revenue and organizational reputation. What organizations can do to minimize the effects of project management risks is to have proper risk management tools and procedures in place. Risk management is a discipline that is of utmost importance in project management and can help the enterprise reap rich rewards. What Are Project Management Risks? A risk is an unexpected event that affects project outcomes or objectives, either adversely or positively. Risks can be related to technology, communication, scope, cost, market, skills or operational processes, among other aspects. Although risks often adversely affect the project, there are also certain risks that can result in positive gains for the enterprise.  Let us look at some of the risks associated with project management: Risk associated with costs: Possibly the most common type of risk, this occurs when the project exceeds its allocated budget. Cost overruns can lead to other associated risks including resource allocation risks, performance risk etc. Cost risks can occur due to poor cost estimation, inaccurate budget planning or even scope creep.  Risk associated with schedule: This again can be a result of incorrect estimation or planning at the start of the project. Increasing customer requirements can also lead to schedule overruns. Schedule risks can feed cost risks as longer projects can cost more, and they will also affect implementation risks and delivery risks.  Risk associated with performance: This type of risk comes into existence when the project fails to deliver what it is intended to do. The project may meet cost and time aspects but may still run into performance risks as it is not delivering its project objectives. Performance risks can lead to cost and schedule risks.  Defining “Overall Project Risk”Project risk is defined as “the effect of uncertainty on the project as a whole” (PMI, 2009, 2013), or as “the exposure of stakeholders to the consequences of variations in outcome” (Association for Project Management, 2004, 2012). These two complementary definitions show that overall project risk has the same two dimensions as individual risks, namely uncertainty and significance. Indeed, overall project risk is just another manifestation of the proto-definition of risk as “uncertainty that matters” (Hillson, 2009)--PMI  How to Manage Project Risk?Any risk must be managed, irrespective of whether it is negative or positive. Managing overall project risk is an important aspect of project management. Risks—individual and overall—should be identified at the time of planning or concept stage, which in turn will help with assessing and managing them appropriately. The planning stage of the project is when the objectives and scope of the project are chalked out. At this stage, the benefits and the overall goal of the project are defined. Along with the benefits, the risks that the system can be prone to are also defined. As the scope is clarified and the expected benefit-risk analysis is defined at every stage of the scope, there is implicit risk management being done to address overall project risks. Once the scope, benefits, risks and other parameters of the project are decided and the project is under way, the regular project risk management processes are applied to proactively address every individual risk that is identified. This is explicit risk management, wherein individual risks are assessed and mitigated. At key milestones within the project, the overall project risk assessment is re-visited to ensure that risks do not exceed the defined overall risk levels.  Positive Risk: Is That a Thing?We always associate risk with something negative, something that will cause us to fail or lead to losses. But risk can also be positive, in the sense that it leads to unexpected gains or profits and benefits. In fact, risk takers are often rewarded when their gambling pays off. Positive risks can often be successful drivers for the future.Let us look at some examples of positive risks: A company or government policy that results in additional funding A change in company or government rules that help you market your product better A new product is a risk, but the product does well and brings in huge profits A project gets completed under budget, which could mean a potential error in the estimation of initial costs But as the adage goes, ‘too much of anything is not good’, too much of positive risk can also lead to negative business impact. Now this seems like a paradox, but the truth is if positive risks are not properly managed, positive risks can become negatives.  Is There a Difference Between “Risks” and “Risk”?While we may think that this is like comparing many and one, there is still a subtle difference between risks and risk in the world of project management. The PMI® states that there is a difference between risks and an individual risk. Risks or overall risks can relate to risks associated with the overall project; in other words, this refers to the effect of uncertainty on the overall project. Risk, on the other hand, refers to an individual risk which might have a negative or a positive impact on the objectives of the project. Both risks and risk can be positive or negative. Individual risk may cause delays in meeting or delivering milestones or cause budget overruns. They may also positively impact the project by helping underspend. Overall risks, on the other hand, when they negatively impact the organization, can cause the cancellation of the entire project or a significant change in the scope that in turn may lead to various other risks. The impact of positive risks can be the gain of additional benefits, which otherwise would not have occurred. The difference between these two types of risks has been mentioned in the Practice Standard for Project Risk Management (PMI, 2009, and in the PMBOK® Guide - Fifth Edition. The overall project risk does not impact only the objectives or the goals of the project but the entire project itself, while individual risks affect the project objectives.How are Overall Project Risks Identified?Overall Project risk is defined as “the effect of uncertainty on the project as a whole”—PMI®  The same common standards of identifying typical risks, that is identifying the potential sources of risk and the areas of the project where these risks will have an impact, cannot apply to identifying overall project risks.Identifying overall project risks requires an assessment at a high level where the potential causes and effects are identified rather than the risk itself. What are the Causes of Overall Project Risk?There can be a number of extraneous and internal factors that can lead to overall project risks. There are several risk identification techniques that can be used to identify overall project risks. Some of these according to the PMI® are:  PESTLE – Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental PESTLIED – as PESTLE, with the addition of International (or Informational) and Demographic STEEPLE – as PESTLE, with the addition of Ethics InSPECT – Innovation, Social, Political, Economic, Communications, Technology SPECTRUM – Socio-cultural, Political, Economic, Competitive, Technology, Regulatory/legal, Uncertainty/risk, Market TECOP – Technical, Environmental, Commercial, Operational, Political VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity Five Elements to Consider When Determining Risk in Project ManagementCreating a risk assessment plan that answers these questions will help you be prepared to handle the risks and mitigate it effectively.  Risk event: How will it affect the project? Risk timeframe: When is it expected to take place? Probability: What is the probability of the risk happening? Impact: What is the impact of the risk? Factors: What events may trigger or preempt the risk?Managing Risk Throughout the OrganizationRisks are a part and parcel of not just our projects, but even have an impact at the organizational level. So, it goes without saying that organizational risk management should be performed diligently. While many may find organizational risk management to be an overwhelming task, it is an exercise that must be undertaken. Most organizations use a risk assessment matrix that allows them to view and share results of risk assessment across the organization. This helps everyone to be clued in on the risks that are imminent. Having a handy color-coded visual aid also helps in making decisions related to risk mitigation.Once the risks and their likelihood of happening are entered into the matrix, teams can, at a glance, identify the threats and prioritize them based on urgency and threat level.  Conclusion As projects get more intense and wider in scope, risk has become an inevitable part of the project lifecycle. But risks cannot be ignored. Rather, organizations should invest in an effective risk culture, where there is effective identification and monitoring of risks. Recognizing overall project risks early will help teams and organizations design appropriate risk management policies and achieve strategic and organizational goals. 
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What Are Project Management Risks?

Risk is an integral part of any project. To have a... Read More