Deliverables: Understanding their Meaning in Business, Exploring Types, and Examining Examples

Article Summary

In the world of business and project management, deliverables hold immense importance. Deliverables are the tangible or intangible outcomes that result from a project, serving as measurable results and indicators of project success. They can be classified as tangible (such as products and reports) or intangible (such as services and knowledge transfer). Tangible deliverables include physical goods or written materials, while intangible deliverables encompass services and the transfer of knowledge or expertise.

What are Deliverables?

Deliverables, in a business context, refer to the final results or outcomes that are expected from a project. They are the tangible evidence of a project’s completion and success. These outcomes can take various forms, including products, reports, services, or even knowledge transfer.

Types of Deliverables

Deliverables can be categorized into two broad types: tangible and intangible.

Tangible Deliverables

Tangible deliverables are physical products or visible outcomes that are produced during a project. Some examples of tangible deliverables include:

  1. Products: Tangible goods or items can be considered as deliverables. These can range from physical products like automobiles, appliances, or consumer goods to large-scale industrial machinery or infrastructure projects.
  2. Reports and Documentation: Reports and other written materials are crucial deliverables in many projects. These can include research reports, feasibility studies, project plans, or technical documentation. They provide valuable insights and serve as reference materials for future use.

Intangible Deliverables

Intangible deliverables, on the other hand, are non-physical outcomes that are valuable in their own right. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. Services: Services can be considered as intangible deliverables. They include professional expertise, consulting services, software development, marketing campaigns, or even creative services like graphic design. While they may not have a physical form, their impact and value are significant.
  2. Knowledge Transfer: Another form of intangible deliverable is the transfer of knowledge or expertise. This can occur through training programs, workshops, or mentorship sessions. Sharing knowledge within an organization or with clients can greatly enhance productivity and lead to long-term success.

Requirements of Deliverables

Deliverables, as the tangible or intangible outcomes of a project, need to meet certain requirements to ensure their effectiveness and successful completion. These requirements vary depending on the nature of the project, industry standards, and stakeholder expectations. Here are some key considerations when defining the requirements of deliverables:

  1. Clear Definition: It is crucial to have a clear and concise definition of the deliverables. This includes specifying the expected form, format, functionality, and quality standards. Clarity in defining deliverables helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures everyone involved in the project has a shared understanding of the desired outcomes.
  2. Measurable Criteria: Defining measurable criteria or success metrics is essential to evaluate the completion and quality of deliverables. These criteria should be specific, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Measurable criteria provide a basis for assessing the effectiveness and impact of the deliverables.
  3. Detailed Specifications: Providing detailed specifications for deliverables helps in their accurate and timely completion. Specifications can include technical requirements, design guidelines, performance benchmarks, or other specific parameters. These specifications serve as a blueprint for the creation of deliverables and facilitate alignment between project stakeholders.
  4. Stakeholder Alignment: It is crucial to involve relevant stakeholders in the process of defining deliverable requirements. This ensures that the expectations and needs of all parties are taken into account. Engaging stakeholders early in the project and seeking their input can help prevent misunderstandings and increase satisfaction with the final deliverables.
  5. Compliance with Regulations and Standards: Depending on the industry or project, there may be specific regulations, standards, or legal requirements that the deliverables must adhere to. It is essential to identify and incorporate these requirements into the deliverable specifications to ensure compliance and avoid any legal or regulatory issues.
  6. Documentation and Reporting: Proper documentation and reporting are important for deliverables to be effective and manageable. This includes maintaining records of the deliverable development process, documenting any changes or revisions, and providing regular progress reports. Documentation helps in tracking the evolution of deliverables, ensuring transparency, and facilitating effective communication among project stakeholders.
  7. Quality Assurance: Quality assurance processes should be implemented to ensure that deliverables meet the specified requirements. This may involve conducting reviews, inspections, testing, or verification procedures to identify and rectify any deviations or errors. Quality assurance helps maintain the desired level of quality and ensures that deliverables meet or exceed stakeholder expectations.

Examples of Deliverables in different industries

Let’s now explore some industry-specific examples of deliverables to understand how they manifest in practice.

Construction industry

In the construction industry, deliverables are often physical structures or infrastructure projects. Some common examples of deliverables in this industry include completed buildings, bridges, roads, or architectural plans. These tangible outcomes are the culmination of planning, designing, and constructing projects.

IT industry

In the IT industry, deliverables can be software applications, websites, or network infrastructure. These tangible outcomes are the result of software development, coding, testing, and implementation efforts. Delivering a functional software product or a well-designed website is an essential part of project success in this field.

Marketing industry

In the marketing industry, deliverables can take the form of creative assets, marketing campaigns, or strategic reports. Examples of marketing deliverables include ad creatives, social media content, marketing strategy reports, or branding materials. These tangible and intangible outcomes help organizations build brand awareness, reach their target audience, and achieve marketing objectives.

FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

Here are some common questions related to deliverables in business:

What is the importance of deliverables in project management?

Deliverables play a crucial role in project management as they define the desired outcomes and help track progress. They provide a clear understanding of project scope, expectations, and success criteria.

How are deliverables different from milestones?

Deliverables are the end results of a project, while milestones are significant points or achievements within a project timeline. Deliverables mark the completion of specific project phases or objectives.

How can I ensure successful delivery of deliverables?

Successful delivery of deliverables requires effective project planning, clear communication, proper resource allocation, and regular monitoring of progress. Setting realistic timelines and managing stakeholder expectations are also important.

Key takeaways

  • Deliverables are the tangible or intangible outcomes of a project.
  • They can be classified as tangible (products, reports) or intangible (services, knowledge transfer).
  • Different industries have specific examples of deliverables, such as buildings in construction, software in IT, or marketing campaigns in the marketing industry.
  • Deliverables play a vital role in project management and project success, providing measurable results and indicators of progress.
View Article Sources
  1. How to manage a milestone, or managing by deliverables – Project Management Institute
  2. Deliverable – Cambridge Dictionary
  3. What are the key deliverables of the project management process? – Sonoma State University