Fracturing Your Project Deliverables for Success
Posted: 04/28/2021 | Author: Jim Lochner for Creatives On Call
Projects large and small… We all have ’em. You’ve got your project in mind, a well-thought-out project plan, and a sign-off on the budget. Now how can you parcel out that project into bite-size pieces so you have a proper roadmap to success?
Deliverables are important. They help get you from point A to point B throughout the project. Think of it as your project GPS. At its most basic, a well-defined deliverable should contain all the pertinent details, including start and end dates, statuses, associated tasks, and related resources and assets. Deliverables should be within the scope of the project, agreed to by all internal and external stakeholders, achieved through deliberate work, and play an important role in the project’s development.
Distinguishing Key Deliverables
You’ll hear the terms “key deliverables” and “deliverables” used interchangeably, but they’re separate concepts. Key deliverables are the main outcomes you want from your project. For instance, your project might have 30 deliverables altogether, but just 5 key deliverables. Not everything can be a priority, so prioritize the importance of your deliverables accordingly.
Break Down Internal vs. External Deliverables
Internal deliverables constitute any work that is not customer-facing or part of doing business with clients and customers. Internals keep your project going, but aren’t directly tied to any revenue generation. External deliverables are customer-facing and directly fulfill the needs of the client (for example, client presentations, websites, etc.). If the deliverable contributes to business growth or revenue generation, it’s most likely external.
Break Down Deliverables into Tasks
Now that you’ve got your deliverables in hand, it’s time to break them down into tasks. If deliverables are your GPS, tasks are the packing checklists you need to reach your end destination. Tasks should be manageable components consisting of deadlines, the person(s) assigned to the task, the number of hours it will take, and costs, both in terms of how much money the deliverable will cost your business as well as how much money it will bring in. An easy way to differentiate between deliverables and tasks is to describe deliverables as nouns and use verbs for your tasks.
Arrange Your Tasks
Once you’ve got your tasks laid out, it’s time to put them in a logical order. This will help you group similar types of work together and create the project schedule. You can move these tasks around as needed throughout the project to keep everything on track.
If tasks are the checklists, milestones are the pit stops on your project journey. Milestones signify that a significant accomplishment has been reached or a grouping of work has been completed. Assign the start date of the milestone and its duration, and you’ll be able to see at a glance where the project stands and what remains to be completed. Give each milestone a tangible deadline and list them in the order they’ll be accomplished. Take stock as you hit each milestone and regroup and revise if necessary. This will ensure your project doesn’t hit any roadblocks or delays.
Beware of Scope Creep
Scope creep is that dreaded detour of endless add-ons and ever-changing parameters that are the bane of every project. They tack on more work, resources, time, and expenses outside of the original scope, pushing the schedule back and bloating the budget. Keep your deliverables clear and detailed to help you stay on the road and prevent uncontrolled scope creep.
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Even with the most careful planning, most projects won’t follow a straight route to completion. But by putting in the planning groundwork and carefully monitoring your deliverables, tasks, and milestones along the way, you’ll ensure the smoothest project journey possible.
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