Planning a project
Planning a project

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Planning a project

4 Identifying deliverables

The project brief will identify the goals of the project and may express some of these as key objectives. At an early stage of planning you will need to identify all of the project objectives and the deliverables that are implied or required from each objective.

Each objective will identify a clear outcome. The outcome is the deliverable. In some cases, the outcome will be some sort of change achieved and in other cases it will be the production of something new. In either case, the project deliverables should be identified so that it will be easy to demonstrate that they have been achieved.

Example 3

The first objective in a project that aimed to change the service focus of an organisation was to ensure that all of the key managers were trained to carry out the change. The deliverable might have been evidence that 80 key managers had been trained in managing change. This evidence might have taken the form of records showing that the training had taken place. If the training was really the objective, then this would be sufficient.

However, in this case, the training was intended as preparation for action. It might have been closer to the purpose of this project if the deliverable for this objective had been framed in terms of each of the 80 trained managers being able to provide evidence of having successfully managed change.

Even this deliverable would not, in itself, support the project manager's personal intention to raise the profile of the human resources department within the organisation. To achieve this, s/he might have decided to collect the evidence that these 80 managers had successfully managed change and then used this evidence to produce a report as the deliverable. This would show how the training provided by the HR department had succeeded in developing these managers so that they were able to contribute effectively to organisational change. It is important to ensure that the outcomes of the project are the ones intended and this can be focused with specific objectives and identified deliverables.

Outputs can be defined when there is a distinctly identifiable product but outcomes are more holistic and can imply a changed state that might not be evident for some time. In some situations it may be difficult to demonstrate outcomes, for example, where cause and effect are uncertain. It is still important in such settings to identify goals and to define them in a way that will enable an appraisal of the extent to which the aims of the project have been achieved. ‘How shall we know if we have been successful?’ and identify the indicators that will help in making that judgement.

Deliverables:

  • need to be handed over to someone authorised to receive them;

  • at the handover, there should be a formal acknowledgement that the specification has been fully met and each item has been ‘signed off’ as fully acceptable;

  • the deliverable will be something for which users will need some training to use or something that needs to be implemented in some way. In these cases, once the deliverable has been identified, it is important to agree who will be responsible for the ongoing training or implementation, so that there are no misunderstandings about the boundary of the project.

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