Key Deliverables in Project Management: Definition & Steps

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  • 0:01 What Is a Key Deliverable?
  • 0:39 How Are Key…
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Carol Woods

Carol has taught college Finance, Accounting, Management and Business courses and has a MBA in Finance.

What is a key deliverable? In this lesson, we'll learn about the major steps in project management, how key deliverables fit into the bigger picture, and how to determine them for our project.

What Is a Key Deliverable?

A key deliverable is an item - either tangible or intangible - produced as a part of a project. As an example, if you are a consultant implementing a new sales order tracking system, your deliverables would include the specific things given to the sales team as part of the project, such as training sessions, user manuals, and a working system. The key deliverables are the most important deliverables and may have multiple tasks or smaller deliverables included in their production.

How Are Key Deliverables Determined?

It might be helpful to stop and talk about project management for a minute. In project management, the process begins by defining the objective for the entire project.

Next, the project is broken down into major components leading up to the objective: these are the key deliverables. These key deliverables are then broken down into specific tasks that need to be completed. The time needed to complete each task is determined, as well as a flow diagram that shows dependencies - in other words, tasks that need to be completed before another task can begin.

Once all the tasks are defined and the completion time needed is determined, completion dates are assigned for each task and deliverable. Project tracking is managed at the task level, but outside of the project group, the key deliverables are generally the only things discussed, and the team will have to report any anticipated slip in those delivery dates, along with the reasons why.

For example, let's pretend we are building a playhouse for our backyard. The overall project objective will be to have a completed playhouse available in the yard for our children. The key deliverables are the major components of this project. While installing the door in our playhouse is a task in our project plan, it would not be a major component.

For this project, the key deliverables would likely be:

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