It’s easy to have tunnel vision as a project manager, focusing only on communicating within your team. But more often than not, you’re going to need to share your project deliverables list with the company as a whole — with people who may not necessarily be familiar with your terminology or techniques. That’s why the best project managers follow these three simple rules for making their deliverables easily understandable for the whole company.
Make it simple
While it can be tempting to share a detailed project deliverables list, overcomplicating things will lead to confusion for other members of your company. A good project deliverables list is simple, easy to understand, and easy to follow for everyone — even people from outside the project.
To keep your list as simple as possible, try following these steps when presenting it to the company:
- Focus on the big picture. It’s tempting to let every little detail creep into a deliverables plan, but doing that will only end up getting you stuck in the weeds. Keep the main plan focused on the high-level execution of the project, and let team members drill down on their individual steps as needed.
- Imitate what works. If another team has a successful template for a project deliverables list, don’t be afraid to use it — at least as a starting point for something more customized to your needs. Plus, if your company is used to deliverable plans having a certain look or feel, it will make it easier for people to understand your plan when it’s time to share.
- Go one step at a time. Complicated projects can be overwhelming when you look at all the details at once. To avoid this, it’s best to break them down into a series of easily-understandable key steps. Prioritize these steps and give them deadlines. This way everyone will clearly see how you plan on leading your project from start to finish.
Make it collaborative
If you’re presenting a project deliverables list to the entire company, chances are you’re going to get feedback on it — whether you want it or not. We suggest welcoming this feedback, but at the same time curbing it by doing as much collaboration as you can ahead of time.
Here are two ways to make a collaborative project deliverables plan:
- Welcome feedback from the whole team. Your team will be more motivated to complete a task if they agreed to it in the first place. Incorporating their feedback when making a deliverables plan, will help them feel the deliverables are realistic and meaningful.
- Clarify individual responsibilities. Explaining individual deliverables to your team will ensure everyone is clear on who is responsible for what, and collaborate accordingly.
Make it flexible
Sometimes (okay, most times) projects don’t go according to plan. Your first attempt at a project deliverables plan may not be accurate, and as the project moves along you’ll need to make changes to scope and timeline to cope with reality. That’s why it’s important to be flexible on project deliverables to some extent. Here’s how:
- Build in extra time. It’s better to pad out some wiggle room in a project schedule rather than having a tight schedule that puts you in constant risk of falling behind.
- Share access to an editable deliverables document. Teams can use this document as a resource for the source of truth, rather than as a cached copy. Consider giving read-only access to your project plan to the company as a whole, so interested parties can check in on progress without disrupting your workflow.
- Keep communication open. Along with a shared deliverables list, it’s vital to keep an open line of communications among team members. Consider doing this using whatever project management tool that best meets your teams needs. And if that requires several different project management tools, Unito can help you keep everything synced together.
Project deliverables planning is never easy, especially when you have to consider a wider audience than you’re used to. But by following these three rules, you’ll be on the right path to a plan that your whole company will be aligned on.