Effective Solutions Through Partnership

5 Quick Tips to Turn Project Data into Key Deliverables

Best Practices, Data Management, Project Management

Turning Project Data Into Deliverables

By Stephen Alfano, CSM

Let’s face it, packaging data can be a colossal challenge, especially when you are under a time crunch. And, if you are working in a project management role, then chances are good you are always under a time crunch. Here are five tips to help turn project data into key deliverables:

Identify your key deliverables. It sounds a bit naive, but knowing the difference between a key deliverable and one that isn’t vital to your project’s success is a big part of efficient data disposition. A key deliverable is a tangible or intangible work product produced as a part of a project that will help facilitate or drive a mission-critical decision. For example, if you are the scrum master, one of your key deliverables would be a risks and issues backlog—this keeps the project team on a coordinated path to overcome impediments.

Gather your data into a template. With your key deliverable identified, you now know which data points to extract, prioritize, and analyze. More important, you can move forward and choose the appropriate place to store your project data. Thanks to the Internet, there are thousands of templates available for free or for a small fee. Check out these links, which are good jumping off points to finding the right storage solution for you: https://www.smartsheet.com/top-project-management-excel-templates ; https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Create-a-new-project-from-a-template-16e175a0-302b-4dad-806b-7ccfa2c026fd ; http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/excel-project-management-tracking-templates/

Create your key deliverable in three phases. First, build an outline. Next, use the outline to seek input and get instruction from your stakeholders that you can incorporate into a formatted draft. (Remember: You are building more than a key deliverable, you are building a consensus.) Finally, move on to the final version of your key deliverable after you have received draft approval. (I have been using this three-phase methodology for 30 years. Trust me, it is the fastest and best way through the review process.)

Capture, evaluate, and assimilate review feedback precisely. Key deliverables invariably garner charged responses. No matter what your title or job description says, when you are sharing data at a decision point, you will be asked to render an opinion or make a recommendation. In short, you are the expert. The feedback you received through the outline and draft stages will be an invaluable insight to help establish how you arrived at your conclusions or report.

Modify your templates for future use. Key deliverables are rarely one-off work products. In fact, most are recurring reports requiring frequent, often overhauling, updates. Be prepared to adapt or change your templates or presentation strategy to help keep your stakeholders engaged and informed. Flexibility is a key to providing key deliverables successfully.

About the Author:  Stephen Alfano is Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM), Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has 30 years of experience leading and managing internal and external program initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as Marketing and Communications Manager for KAI Partners, Inc., spearheading business development and leading the firm’s marketing and communications practice and line of business.

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