No matter what your project, big or small, how well you plan, getting things done involve little and big steps to oversee the project from start to finish. Thus, project planning can get you smoothly from start to end in your project. And to ultimately complete the project, a team must complete the first steps in order to start with the next ones. Therefore, MILESTONES!
In this article, we’ll learn about a milestone in a project: what, why, and how and the role of Gantt charts in setting a milestone.
What is a Milestone in a Project?
We have got a list of milestones in our life: graduation from the academy, getting the first job, buying a car, wedding, etc. – these are all examples of milestones. Similarly, a project has its milestones too.
Project milestone is a way to know how the project is advancing. Milestone planning is a big part of project planning because project milestones are the most apparent signs of project progress. Milestones, by definition, is a reference point that typically marks critical decision points. It doesn’t refer to any duration but marks an important event in a project task or group of tasks. Most of the time milestones are a form of achieving something great or reaching a level that has been never achieved by anyone.
After all, if there isn’t a date for completion, a portion of a project could go on endlessly. Thus, setting milestones when planning a project.
Typical project milestones examples include:
- Project kick-off
- Requirements review
- Phase 1 approval
- Phase 1 complete
- Documents finalized
- Project complete
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Why Set a Milestone in a Project?
Milestones are more appropriate for those methodologies wanting to keep strict project deadlines. It is a stepping stone to project scheduling, helping to manage the expectations of stakeholders, and many more. Mainly, setting milestones addresses four areas:
What to complete?
The small segments in a project are monitored consequently until completion to decide whether they are in accordance with the plan and the schedule.
What was completed?
All the milestones that mark the progress of the project, are recorded and determines the next phase of a project in the project schedule that can be immediately started though.
When was it completed?
Find the effectiveness of performance by comparing the actual completion date of a milestone to the scheduled one.
When will it be completed?
In case there are any variances in the project schedule with respect to the milestones, setting milestone will assist in estimating whether the entire project will be finished on schedule (realistic time-frame). You can see whether you need to change your plans.
What are your teams’ efforts?
Team A and B are connected because team B cannot start work before team A completes it. So, when should team B be ready to begin? Milestone will visualize the efforts of each team. You’ll know it when you’ve set a milestone target for team A.
What is the sense of urgency?
When there is a set deadline, each individual will do everything in power to complete the task on or before the set date.
Apart from this, the experts of the project schedule say that milestones show the progress only on the critical path, largely ignoring the non-critical activities of the project.
Task, event, or milestone?
Distinguishing tasks, events, and milestones can be difficult on larger projects.
- A Task is a single item in a task list. It is something that is to be accomplished in a particular pod.
- A Milestone is a goal that you want to achieve for a list of tasks.
- An Event is only associated with your calendar, which doesn’t require a responsible deliverable and can’t be marked “completed”.
Milestones in Project Management
Milestones help us specify meaning to the passage of time. Milestones are important for your projects, too. While you can use milestones to mark important dates when deliverables are required. Milestones do not leave any sort of impact on the objective of the project. They are the checkpoints in the project.
ProofHub is a project collaboration platform to set milestones on your project to break projects down into steps. Once they are broken down, each step becomes much more manageable. In ProofHub, when you set a milestone to mark a date revealing a deliverable, your whole team will be able to see it clearly.
Let’s look at an example of project management milestones often used during a project. When you’re designing an advertising campaign. There are various high-priority tasks marked as milestones, like obtaining sketches, images, content, and audience. When you have them all done, you’ll know you are halfway through the project. Deliverables that meet deadlines can also be milestones. Therefore, you can measure the progress when the deliverable is completed.
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Advantages of Setting Project Milestones
Project plan milestones help you oversee the progress of a project. It keeps a project on track and the entire team on course. There are many advantages to set project milestones:
It sets a schedule for the key points to be completed in a project. Milestones make it much easier to schedule project activities. This will ensure that everyone knows when the deadlines are for different aspects of the project. If due to some reasons, it seems that the milestones cannot be reached, suitable actions can be taken to get the project back on schedule to keep future milestones on track. More importantly, if you are lagging behind the schedule, you can easily pick up the speed to reach your project milestones.
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Project Evaluation On The Go
As the project goes along it can be evaluated at every stage. Without setting the milestones, project managers usually leave project evaluation for the end. This costs them a lot. So, with milestones, you can know the aspects of the project worked well and where things could be improved. Monitoring the project progress in real time from the start is important to ensure successful completion of the project inside the budget.
As the milestones get completed, this can be a celebration for the team and manager. With a lot of things on the plate, celebration usually slips off from hand. As milestones get ticked off, in order to keep the spirits high, celebrate small successes. This will not only acknowledge the efforts of your team members but also motivate them to work harder to achieve overall project objectives.
What is a Milestone in the Gantt Chart?
Gantt charts are widely used in businesses to track a project on the basis of project management rules. Generally, milestones are specific points in line with your project cycle to monitor project process. It marks any significant activities in a project. A Gantt chart is a visual view of tasks scheduled over time.
You can easily mark these milestones in Gantt charts;
✔ The start date of the project
✔ What are the project tasks
✔ Who is working on each task
✔ Start and finish of a task
✔ Duration each task will take
✔ The finish date of the project
ProofHub – Scheduling Simplified with Project Management Calendar
Calendar is a tab where you get to see the MILESTONES, tasks, and events from all the projects at one place in ProofHub. It simplifies the way you manage your schedule, plan your events, and keep track of the important dates and deliverables in the project.
Also, the Gantt chart in ProofHub lets you improve the process of planning and scheduling by setting dependencies and have a graphical way of visualizing the milestones at every step in the project and represents all tasks.
ProofHub’s online Gantt charts is an advanced approach that offers graphical representations to give you a clear picture of your projects in just one look.
How to add a milestone in ProofHub
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a milestone in ProofHub project management Calendar:
- Click on a date and select Task from the popup.
- Select the project and the task list in which you want to add the task and click Add.
- Similarly, you can also add Events and Milestones by simply clicking on the date cell and selecting the calendar.
There are several options in Calendars to dig further for information. Following are the filters in Calendars:
- Projects: Filter the particular project you want to see.
- People: Filter Calendars on the basis of people and check their availability across all the projects.
- View: If you want to see only one of these three: Events, Tasks, and Milestones.
ProofHub makes it easy to create, track, and collaborate on all your project milestones so nothing slips through the cracks.