A05 - Identify and plan the deliverables
This management activity belongs to the Project Initiation group. This group of activities are run at the beginning to prepare us for the project.
Conduct workshops to create a hierarchical breakdown of the building elements of the product: the deliverables. Where necessary, add short descriptions to deliverables to explain their scope, quality, or other important factors. Store this information in the Deliverables Map, which can have any format, such as a mind map.
The Deliverables Map can be elaborated on by including the dependencies among its items. When there are many dependencies, the elements can be scheduled based on their dependencies and estimated durations, whereas when there are not many dependencies, the elements can be prioritized by a proper set of criteria and selected for execution based on priorities and improvisation rather than a schedule. Many projects can benefit from a dependency-based approach for the higher levels and a priority-based approach for the lower levels.
If a similar project has been done before, check its archive and use that information to prepare a better Deliverables Map.
Based on the development of the Deliverables Map, you may need to make adjustments to the Project Description as well.
While Project Description is crucial and it’s always necessary to be aligned with it, it’s abstract and hard to use in day-to-day work. The Deliverables Map bridges the gap by creating a relatively concrete resource that makes the scope of the project clearer. It’s also the heart of what becomes a form of schedule for the project, which in turn is a resource that helps us decide what to do next and to measure progress.
It’s common for practitioners to think of “work” instead of “deliverables” when creating the Deliverables Map. You need to facilitate the workshop in a way that helps everyone focus on deliverables, independent of the underlying work. To ensure this is the case, use noun phrases instead of verb phrases for naming the deliverables. Sometimes, the use of a mind map can also help because it visualizes the hierarchy of the building elements.
The following principles play a significant role in this management activity: