What is a Milestone in Project Management (And How To Use it in Your Project)

What is a Milestone in Project Management

No matter what your project, big or small, how well you plan, getting things done involves 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 project management?

What Is A Milestone In Project Management

We have 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.

Project management 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 project management milestones when planning a project is important.

Milestones in project management: Examples

Milestones help us specify meaning to the passage of time. Milestones are important for your projects, too.

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 a project management milestone 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.

Typical project milestones examples include:

  • Project kick-off
  • Requirements review
  • Phase 1 approval
  • Phase 1 complete
  • Documents finalized
  • Project complete

Why is setting a milestone important for a project?

Why Is Setting A Milestone Important For A Project

The checkpoints in a project timeline that reflect key occurrences are known as project management milestones.

The project’s high-priority activities, significant deliverables, client or stakeholder permission, start or finish dates for phases, important meetings, etc., are all represented by milestones in the project’s key performance index (KPI).

The road signboards that are strategically situated along major roads act as a guide of how many miles you have done and how many you need to do for you to reach your destination.

Project milestones in project management serve the same function. In the above example, the signboards represent the project’s milestones, and the goal is the timely and cost-effective completion of all projects.

How to create & visualize project milestones

Milestones are more appropriate for those methodologies who want 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 determine 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 milestones 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? Milestones 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 their 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”.

Take your project to the next level.

Advantages of setting project milestones

Advantages of Setting Project Milestones

Milestones of a project
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:

Schedule Activities

It sets a schedule for the key target milestones 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.

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 to 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 the successful completion of the project inside the budget.

Celebrate success

As the milestones of a project 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 the difference between milestone and timeline?

In everyday language, you might use the words timeline and milestone interchangeably. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth in project management.

The difference between the two words has a lot of weight and can’t just be thrown around.

So what is the difference between timeline and milestone in project management?

The fundamental difference is that a timeline is a graphic representation of the chronological order of events in the past or future.

A timeline is very different from a milestone in a project because it does not signify a single point in the project’s history; instead, it marks the project’s overall progress. 

A milestone in a project is simply a mark of completion to denote that a particular task has reached a predetermined point in a given timeframe. You can have multiple milestones in a project timeline

What is a milestone in the Gantt Chart?

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 the project process.

It marks any significant activities or project progress with milestones. 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 of each task

✔  The finish date of the project

ProofHub – Scheduling simplified with project management calendar

ProofHub Gantt Chart

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 having a graphical way of visualizing the milestones at every step in the project and representing all tasks.

ProofHub’s online Gantt charts are an advanced approach that offers graphical representations to give you a clear picture of your project progress with milestones in just one look.

Quick tips for using project milestones in ProofHub

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a ProofHub milestones in the project management Calendar:

Add milestones

1. Click on the date cell and select Milestone from the drop-down list.


2. Add the following details in the new window:

  • Enter the Title of the milestone.
  • Mark it as private, if needed.
  • Pick a Due date for the milestone.
  • Add Assignees to the milestone.
  • Enter the Description of the milestone.
  • Associate a task list with the milestone.
  • Select a Timezone.
  • Set a Reminder.

Add milestone in ProofHub

3. Click Add.

ProofHub milestones makes it easy to create, track, and collaborate on all your project milestones so nothing slips through the cracks.


What makes a good milestone?

A good milestone is a particular point in a project’s life cycle to gauge progress toward the result. The start, finish, reviews, etc. are all indicated by good milestones.

How do you track project milestones?

ProofHub with its integrated project management milestones allows you to track and assess all project milestones from start to finish with a bird’s eye view from a single dashboard.

How to share milestones with project stakeholders?

In a robust project management software like ProofHub, you can add team members to projects who will be automatically notified whenever a pertinent milestone is reached.

Why Set a Milestone in a Project?

A project management milestone helps you track a project’s start & finish dates, outside evaluations and input, budget checks, the submission of a significant deliverable, etc.

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