An outline for defining the contents of "deliverables" your team needs to create during a project, and information about how a well-defined deliverable can make your projects go more smoothly!
What this is
An outline for defining the contents of deliverables your team needs to create during a project, and related forms to help you use those project documents wisely on your projects in various situations.
Why it's useful
"Deliverables" are simply information that teams need to write down and communicate to others, sometimes inside the team, sometimes outside the team. They reflect decisions about aspects of the project (such as design review minutes); plans for work that needs to take place (such as test plans or manufacturing plans); and guiding specifications (such as a software requirements document). To be effective, these documents need to communicate the right information to the right people on the team at the right time.
Using the template below can help you make sure the right information gets included in your deliverables, and that the correct audience is defined and the correct timing as well. What good is a beta test plan if the field people who will have to interface with beta customers don't see the plan? What good is it if it's written so close to best start time that there's no time to get the equipment the plan calls for? This file also includes an example of thinking about the "purpose" of your deliverable so that it includes the right content to fully communicate.
How to use it
This form can be used on an ad-hoc basis to help you think through deliverables your team should create during your project. It can also be used to create a comprehensive "guidebook" of the standard deliverables you'll have on a project. Such a guidebook can be useful for bringing new people up to speed on how your company does projects. Use caution, however: the goal is not to have a huge process book; the goal is have your teams execute projects as effectively and efficiently as possible. That includes good communication, and deliverables are meant to help increase communication and lower risk.
If you do not have defined deliverables for your projects, scan this file and think about what information your team needs to communicate during each phase of your project. Then use the form and worksheets to define what deliverables your team will create (and get input from team members to do it!).
If your company already has defined what information will get written down during a project, you can still use this file to check your current deliverables. Do you include all the kinds of information listed here? Are you clear on the purpose of the deliverable, so that you're sure the right information is included? Is it getting created at the right time in the project? Are the right people getting to read it and review it?
The file includes an example deliverables definition form that has been filled out. The page after that provides a blank template you can edit.
The next pages contain guidance for thinking about what deliverables you need, what their purpose is, and who should get them during the project, including a case study to illustrate why it's important.
The last page contains a responsibility matrix template you can use to document on one page who needs to create, review, and approve each deliverable. The goal is to provide an easy planning and tracking mechanism to help you make sure you not only create them, but get them to the right people, and don't let them be considered finished until the appropriate people have reviewed and agreed!
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