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3 Advantages of “Deliverables” in Project Server

2012 October 5

If you create Microsoft Project schedules, you are familiar with creating tasks and how tasks are used to represent activities that must be completed to accomplish the goals of your project. Many times tasks follow the PMI guidelines of representing deliverables. According to a PMBOK Guide by the Project Management Institute, a deliverable is a “verifiable work product.” I have seen a variety of schedules represent deliverables different ways including Summary tasks, Detail tasks, or Milestones. Often when people learn that there is a feature called “deliverables” they wonder how that differs from tasks in the schedule.

Three Advantages of the Deliverables Feature

  1. Relevant info for stakeholders and team members. Provides the ability to use Project Server to manage a complete schedule, but offer a list of alternate tasks that are managed separately and visible to individuals that you do not want to have access to the entire schedule. 

    For example, you may want your internal team to see the entire schedule; but the external customer or vendor should only see a predefined, limited list of tasks.

  2. Track non-task, project related items. Provides a way to keep track of things that are related to your project but don’t directly belong as a task in your schedule.

    For example, a financial report that you create about your project that goes to an internal accounting person to be used to create a report for the PMO director.

  3. Identify external project drivers. Provides a way to list tasks that could be drivers to another (external) project. This happens to be my favorite use of the deliverables feature and the one that most people do not know about.

    It is an excellent way to illustrate project-to-project links without worrying about tasks shifting in external projects. That’s what happens in a traditional project-to-project task link.

How to Access Deliverables

Project Site Icon in Project Server

In both Project Server 2007 and 2010 you can access the deliverables feature through the related Project Site.

Project Site Quick Launch Menu

Illustration of how a list of deliverables might look when displayed in the project site.

In this next illustration, notice that the tasks in the schedule are not altered, but the deliverable (indicated with an arrow below) is visually available for a project manager to compare how an external project’s task might affect a task in the current schedule he or she is managing.

Illustration of how a deliverable might look when displayed in a project schedule.

Summing Up

To summarize, the deliverables feature can be used instead of tasks in the schedule to represent a separate/independent list of project tasks, to capture non-project tasks/deliverables, and finally to represent tasks from external projects.

For training classes held onsite, deliverables can be added as part of our tailored training agenda for each customer. For more details, see our available training course options.

the_author

Cindy Lewis is the Director of Knowledge Management at Advisicon, a Project Management consulting company with a global headquarters based in Vancouver, Washington. Advisicon specializes in training for project management best practices and the use of Microsoft’s project management tools like Microsoft Project, Project Server, and SharePoint.

Cindy heads up Advisicon's Midwest/Heartland Branch.