What is a Deliverable in Project Management? [Updated]

The concept behind a Deliverable is one of the essential concepts in the profession of project management. It is also an important concept to be understood by the exam takers for the PMP Certification exam.

In this article we will cover the following topics in detail:

  • What is a deliverable?
  • Type of deliverables
  • What happens to a deliverable after it is created?

Let us take a look and understand deliverables in project management.


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What is a Deliverable?

A deliverable is any product, service, or result that must be completed to finish a project.

Some projects need to develop capabilities to complete a project. These capabilities are also called deliverables. For instance, let us assume that we manufacture the iPhone. In our project, we might need to develop a new manufacturing technique before we can manufacture the product, i.e., iPhone. In this case, the capability that the team develops can also be considered as a deliverable. As per the PMBOK® Guide, deliverables are an important output of the Direct and Manage Project Execution in the Project Integration Management knowledge area.

The writers of the current PMBOK® Guide and many other project management professionals across the globe, advocate that the Work Breakdown Structure should be based on these project deliverables rather than the tasks needed to create these deliverables. While creating a Work Breakdown Structure, these deliverables are further broken down into smaller pieces. This process of decomposition continues until all deliverables are small enough to be considered as work packages.

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Type of Deliverables

Deliverables are usually classified as internal deliverables and external deliverables.

  1. Internal Deliverables

    Internal deliverables are usually deliverables that make a project run, but they are not a part of the product that the end-users would like to see. They are deliverables which the project generates internally. Project Management, Configuration Management, Training, and Testing are some examples of internal deliverables.

  2. External Deliverables

    External deliverables are usually those that the project delivers to the users or the client. An external deliverable could be an IT system and subsystems that make it up or the resulting organizational transition and benefits from a project to reduce the turnaround time of a process.

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Additionally, project management professionals are also known to classify these deliverables by type, as follows.

  1. Project Deliverables: Usually, these are deliverables for the external stakeholders.
  2. Planning Deliverables: Management plans, scheduling, and budgeting, project artifacts, etc.
  3. Activity Deliverables: Status reports, meetings, reviews, etc.

Check out the video below that will help you understand the basics of project management.

What Happens to a Deliverable After It is Created?

After a deliverable is created, it flows through the processes of Perform Quality Control and Verifies Scope until it meets specifications for completeness and correctness.

In the Perform Quality Control process, the deliverables are inspected, measured, and tested to make sure everything that is produced meets the quality standards.

In the Verify Scope process, the deliverables are compared with the documented scope to ensure that everything was completed. This comparison may be performed several times in the life of the project. Formal written acceptance of deliverables by the appropriate stakeholders is an output of the Verify Scope process.

Thus, a deliverable is any product, service, or result required to complete a project. A work breakdown structure is based on these deliverables. Usually, deliverables are categorized into two types, i.e., internal deliverables and external deliverables.

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Q1: What is an example of a deliverable?

The popular deliverables include initial project strategy reports, budget reports, progress reports, beta products, test result reports, and other quantifiable aspects of a project that demonstrate completion.

Q2: What are the deliverables of a project?

Common types of deliverables of a project include tangible or intangible such as hardware or a number-based target, external or internal deliverables created for internal use or external stakeholders, and final or process deliverables depicting progress or completion. 

Q3: What are the key deliverables of a project?

Project deliverables are the things/documents created to help fulfill the objectives. These are essentially the major results that embody the project’s main goals as a whole.

Q4: What are considered deliverables?

Deliverables should be measurable, specific, and have realistic timelines. They must align with the project’s objectives. These are quantifiable goods/ services that must be supplied upon the completion of a project. They can be tangible or intangible.

Q5. Why are deliverables important in project management?

Deliverables serve to clarify the project’s objectives and the measures needed to get there. They are vital components in the project management process that let project managers, clients, and stakeholders acknowledge that the team is progressing. 

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