"Milestone Deliverables": A Guide to Implementing IT Projects

Updated: January 01, 2012

Drive One Leg at a Time: the 14 Milestone Trip

A clearly defined project roadmap is central to our Milestone Deliverables methodology. Each roadmap is drawn using periodic signposts. At every stage of a project, our team and the clients can look up the signposts to determine whether they're on the right track. Also, these signposts help them decide on detours and corrections with minimal disruption.

The "Milestone Deliverables" methodology evolved from this roadmap analogy. It provides a framework that structures the myriad tasks into a simple, deliverable-oriented model.

Each project, like a well-organized road-trip, is broken downs into legs, or phases. This way, the driver can focus on identifiable landmarks instead of on an imperceptible final destination.

Specifically, the project is broken down into manageable tasks. Project tasks are accompanied by 14 tangible deliverables, strategically sprinkled throughout the project's phases. Completing a deliverable signifies the completion of a particular milestone. And this completion is often a prerequisite to the start of the next phase.

The format of these deliverables is not set in stone. In fact, this methodology does not intend to limit the choice of ERP, CRM, SCM, PLM, project support software, networking gear, or any other IT technology. Nor does it intend that the sample reports be used without modification. What is important is faithfulness to the principle that the project team be managed to produce high-quality, tangible results in a timely fashion.

Without further ado, the 14 Milestone Deliverables are:

  1. Project and Subsidiary Plans to list project objectives and scope
  2. Kickoff Presentation to signal the start of implementation execution
  3. Core Team Training Courses to teach IT overviews and details
  4. Business Scenario Lists to list each department's processes
  5. Blueprint White Papers to document each department's operations
  6. Gaps and Issues Database for tracking and reporting of gaps and issues
  7. Change Management Plan to lay out end users' skills upgrades
  8. Walkthrough Presentations of each department's business processes
  9. 80% and 20% Scenario Scripts to detail end pilot user instructions
  10. User Training Courses to teach new operating methods and technology
  11. User Documentation of all deliverables
  12. IT Specifications to detail customizations, interfaces, and special projects
  13. Migration Plan to map out tasks for conversion and entry of legacy data
  14. Cutover Plan to document the project final weeks' tasks

Why Milestone Deliverables Succeeds Where Other Methodologies Fail

The Milestone Deliverables premise is simple and powerful: If you provide managers and their teams with an ability to measure the project outputs, you will be rewarded with an organizational culture that is focused on deliverables and results.

Each team member benefits from managing by deliverables. Working with their personalized work package in a simple intuitive framework, they gain instant clarity on the scope of their assignments and associated deliverables.

And the deliverables themselves are like a good wine - they constantly improve with age throughout the project's lifecycle. As the team gathers more information, and resolves outstanding problems and issues, the deliverables evolve into better and more complete versions of themselves.

This "Milestone Deliverables" methodology is a process-oriented approach to managing people, objectives, and tasks. It has evolved continuously over 30-plus years and assumes that people are more effective - and better motivated - when working towards smaller, finite goals. Completion of these goals is signified by the production of tangible "end products". And with this feedback, managers are empowered to keep the project on track.

A Methodology for Any Implementation in Any Industry

IT systems implementations are extremely complex and touch all aspects of a business' operations. The Milestone Deliverables methodology has been used to implement all kinds of IT projects in a variety of companies around the world, including:

  • A multi-national provider to the worldwide nuclear power market
  • A diversified multi-national manufacturing provider to aerospace, ground defense, railroad, and fire & rescue industries
  • A multi-national designer and manufacturer of pressure relief and safety relief valves, air driven pumps, boosters, power units, and nitrogen product boosters
  • A global leader in the animal agriculture industry, providing goods and services to the leading commercial food producers worldwide
  • A leading provider of voice technologies, systems that manage patient information, and recording solutions for contact centers, public safety and correctional facilities
  • A medium-sized plastic and fabric manufacturer and distributor
  • A multi-national manufacturer and distributor of security and banking systems
  • A manufacturer and distributor of truck bodies
  • A multi-national manufacturer and distributor of printer ribbons
  • An international manufacturer of computer components
  • An international manufacturer and distributor of bathroom accessories
  • An international manufacturer and distributor of forestry equipment
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