Doing more with Deliverables

Process Navigator uses the Deliverable shape to represent the Inputs you use and the Outputs you produce. Deliverables are so important to process mapping because they capture the essence of the process.
Once you get into the habit of viewing the things you do as a means to obtaining a Deliverable, you will find quite naturally that the usefulness of your work to your customers will improve. You will become more customer-focused because you will explicitly recognise your Deliverables as the service you provide to them.

External and Internal Deliverables

An external Deliverable is one that is used or produced outside the scope of your end-to-end process map. Typically, an external Input will come from the company’s suppliers and an external Output will go to the company’s customers. 

An internal Deliverable is one that is used by another process within the scope of your end-to-end process map.

It is important to distinguish external from internal Deliverables for the following reasons:

  • Your Customers are the most important part of your business. Your Customers’ impression of your company is gained through the Deliverables they receive. Get that wrong and they will go elsewhere.
  • Your Suppliers represent a potential point of weakness. Modern companies can only be as strong as their weakest supplier. These days, whole supply chains compete against each other, not just individual companies. Identifying external Inputs helps you to identify external dependencies and thereby manage external risk.
  • You don’t produce external Inputs, so you have little control over their quality other than to test and reject. Modern companies are helping their suppliers attain the quality standards they require and recognising external Inputs helps to do this.

To Create an External Deliverable

Drag and drop the External Deliverable shape from the stencil, or change an internal Deliverable into an external Deliverable as described below.

To Convert a Deliverable from Internal to External, or External to Internal

Right-click the Deliverable and select External. Alternatively, load the Deliverable’s Properties by right-clicking the Deliverable and selecting Properties. Then choose between Internal and External.

Editing the Properties of a Deliverable

Right-click the Deliverable and select Properties or select a Deliverable and then select Properties from the Process Navigator menu in the Visio menu bar.

This will load the Deliverable Properties dialog.

Naming a Deliverable

Any name can be chosen in the Name field. Use a name that is meaningful. For Deliverables that are used in several processes, try to be consistent by always using the same name.

If the text is too large to fit inside the Deliverable, you are free to re-size the Deliverable or the text to accommodate where necessary.

TIP: To re-size the shape, select it and use the green selection handles to change the width and height.

Use the Description field to give more information about the Deliverable. This is restricted to 252 characters (about 44 words). To find out how the description of a shape can be made to appear in the mouse-over of html files, please refer to the Process Navigator’s Publish to HTML Use description where available option.

To Show Deliverable Label

Right-click the Deliverable and select Show Label.


This loads a second text box underneath the Deliverable where you can type a short description. Be careful to select the label before typing, otherwise you might overwrite the name of the Deliverable. Common formats are Paper, Prototype, Word, Excel, Database, HTML, E-mail or Report.

Adding and Removing Suppliers and Customers

Right-click the Deliverable and select Properties. Use the left and right arrows to move Suppliers and Customers into (adding) and out of (removing) the Suppliers and Customers list boxes.

TIP: You can select multiple items in the Available Activities box by holding down the CTRL key while left-clicking.

You can also remove a Supplier or a Customer by deleting the connector between it and the Deliverable.

TIP: Process Navigator interprets any connector as a valid flow, so manually adding connectors is fine provided they are properly glued. When manually adding connectors, they must begin at the Input and end at the Activity, or begin at the Activity and end at the Output. Process Navigator interprets direction of flow from the direction of connection, so you must be careful to get this right. It is not sufficient to have arrowheads pointing in the right direction because arrowheads can be formatted to go against the flow.

Connection Points

Process Navigator allows you to determine the number and placement of the connection points on an Internal or External Deliverable.

To do this, right-click the Deliverable and select Properties. Select the Connection Points tab and the above dialog box will appear. Move the slider on each side of the shape to the number of connection points you want.

Process Navigator will evenly distribute the connection points along the side of the shape.

Recording Properties

Right-click the Deliverable and select Properties, click the Properties tab.

The Properties tab in the Deliverable Properties dialog enables you to record your views on the quality of the Deliverable. It helps you to answer the questions "Am I happy with my suppliers?" and "Are my customers happy?" A good indicator that process improvement work is needed is when different views about the same Deliverable are given by the Supplier and the Customer.

Deliverable Properties can also be used to store the type of Deliverable and, if appropriate, any interfaces between it and the computer systems used in your business.

To customise properties for every occurrence of an Activity, Deliverable or Node, see Customising Data Capture.