Definition

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Deliverable

(Alias: work product)

A tangible output of human effort provided by a developer to a customer.
Software engineering examples are:

  • Project plan
  • User manual
  • Executable code module
  • Design document
  • Code listing.

In a project environment it is recognized good practice for all tasks to have deliverables. The assertion is that tasks with no physical outcome are of questionable value.

Non-deliverables

An example of a non-deliverable is:

A project manager holds a progress meeting and provides a verbal progress report to the customer. In this case the deliverable could have been a progress report document. As nothing was physically produced the progress meeting had no deliverable.

Management by deliverables

Effective project management is based on monitoring project progress through production of visible work products.

Key principles are:

  • Judge progress by what is produced not by someone's subjective opinion of progress
  • Percent complete calculated in deliverables cannot be influenced by emotions, personal prejudices and over active imaginations
  • If you can't see it or touch it, it does not exist
  • Don't ask "How's it going", ask for the deliverable.

Five rules for management by deliverables

  1. Define all tasks in terms of tangible short term deliverables
  2. Set delivery intervals at 5 to 10 days (3 weeks maximum)
  3. Obtain commitment from the developer on the schedule for deliverable creation
  4. Monitor the progress of large deliverable creation with intermediate analytical deliverables
  5. Have a process for formally recognising that a deliverable is complete (refer baseline).
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