What is a Deliverable?



Last updated March 10, 2017


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

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Let us take a look at this concept to understand it better.

What is a Deliverable?

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

Some projects need to develop capabilities in order to complete a project. These capabilities are also called deliverables. For instance let us assume that we manufacture 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 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.

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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.

Classification of Deliverables

Deliverables are usually classified as internal deliverables and external deliverables .

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.

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.

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

Project deliverables : Usually these are deliverables for the external stakeholders

Planning deliverables : Management plans, scheduling and budgeting, project artifacts etc.

Activity Deliverables : Status reports, meetings, reviews etc

What happens to a deliverable after it is created ?

After a deliverable is created it flows through the processes of Perform Quality Control and Verify 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. A formal written acceptance of deliverables by the appropriate stakeholders, is an output of the Verify Scope process.

Example :

Let us take a look at the following example to understand it better

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.


PMP and PMBOK are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

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About the Author

Sabyasachi has over a decade’s experience in leading IT and non IT projects in the Healthcare, Oil and Energy, eCommerce, Public Sector Undertaking and Services industry . He is a PMI certified Project Management Professional , PMP, and a volunteer in the Project management community with a focus on best practice and mentoring other project management professionals . His writings are regularly published in several blogs , forums and online project management communities .


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