In IT project management, deliverables and milestones are the most commonly used terms. They are both very important for an IT project however, there is a large difference between them.
Deliverables are the actual product which is delivered during the project or a certain period of the project. It is tangible as well as verifiable. It must meet the original project requirements, such as specifications.
Milestones mark the accomplishment of a tangible objective of the project such, as the completion of the design phase. Milestones are defined in the work breakdown structure (WBS).
Deliverables form the evidence which would represent the successful completion of a milestone while milestones are governed by deliverables. Deliverables are products which are identified for activities. There are multiple deliverables when the project comes to a milestone. Deliverables are tangible products presented at the end of a milestone.
A deliverable is a tangible product while milestones have symbolic proposition but are not a physical product. A deliverable specifies the tangible product which the project must produce when it tries to accomplish its aim. A project usually has more deliverables than milestones.
Deliverables are the project result which is delivered to the clients. They are delivered at the end of project phases, such as design and implementation.
Milestones are set for the project managers and project team to ensure project progress. They are not delivered to the clients.
The IT project process is broken down into phases with related aims to form milestones. The related aims refer to deliverables.
Milestones refer to significant events or achievements, which involves deliverables presented. Acceptance of deliverables can represent a certain milestone.
Milestones are to ensure the project team focus on the current phase or work while the deliverables are the consequences of the work carried out during the phase. Milestones also ensure the high quality of the project as well as the deliverables.