Deliverable: significance in project management

within the concept of deliverbale

In the scope management process, the most critical aspect concerns the identification of deliverables and the definition of precise criteria for their approval. This post is only about the first aspect ed, in particular, the definition of the concept of deliverable.

How can the English term be translated “deliverable” ? The translated meaning could be "expected result” o “deliverable product”. There is no Italian term that fully expresses the meaning of the term.  

In general, the term is used to locate products deliverable during the execution of the project; they are therefore “tangible” products, measurable and specific, released (delivered) during the course of the project: from this follows the intuitive correlation between deliverable and measure of physical progress (progress) of the project.

A deliverable it usually consists of a package of documents (drawings, technical specifications or finished products, like a prototype, a mathematical model, the result of a geological or market survey, the completion of a preliminary design, the arrival of complex equipment on site, such as the launching equipment for the beams, ecc.). 

Ideally, the deliverable (deliverable in the plural in English) should be identified already in the phase of planning; in very structured contexts of project management, the list of all deliverables is one of the first "deliveries" to be performed, often associated with the release of one of the first payment installments.

The identification of the deliverables it is carried out during the analysis and definition phase of the Scope of the Work (Scope management):

Typically a project deliverable involves a formal issuance and delivery (submittal) to the client; in other cases if the deliverable is complex enough, its "delivery" can be performed in intermediate steps and followed by a workshop with the customer. Basically. Managing a deliverable should always be a formalized process, default, what a rule (contractually) submission to the Client, its revision and possible integration and final acceptance by the Customer.

Some deliverables may be tied to certain Intermediate milestones, which define a road-map “scheduled” of project execution, identifying significant intermediate steps or results.

Failure to achieve these intermediate milestones could be linked to "penalties”; from this implies the need to include in the Project schedule all project milestones.

In conclusion, the deliverable concept is associated with other important elements in project management:

  • The definition of Scope of work;
  • The deliverable acceptance criteria that require a well-defined submission process, review and approval of deliverables;
  • The intermediate milestones with any penalties that are included in the Plan (the piano) of Project;
  • the mechanism of measure of project progress (project progress), which can be linked to the "conventional weight" of the deliverables.

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