What is a milestone in project management?
Project milestones are major goals en route to completing a project. When a team reaches a project milestone, stakeholders get a sense of the progress that’s been made.
As well as boosting morale, project management milestones can be a great tool for getting team members to focus on completing the next required part(s) of the project. Milestones plotted throughout a project’s duration give team members a clear visual guide on what needs to be done next, and can clarify the chronology of tasks in the project.
How to set project milestones
The first step in setting project milestones is to identify the parts of a project that could represent major progress towards completion. For example, if you were working on a project to build a new website, you might identify milestones such as all design assets created, all web content signed off and soft launch on X date.
Remember to use milestones sparingly, as they can lose their impactfulness if they become almost as commonplace as tasks. What is a project milestone really saying, if it’s the third one that’s been ticked off this week?
This brings us to another important factor: pacing. Ideally, your project milestones will happen at fairly regular intervals throughout the project, as this helps maintain a sense of momentum. If most of your milestones are bunched up near the start or end of a project, this could lead team members to feel complacent or overwhelmed.
Once you have identified your project milestones and decided when they should be completed, you’ll be ready to implement the milestones in your project. To do this efficiently and flexibly, you’ll need to find a pm tool that has the functionality to add and edit milestones within a project. This approach sure beats working towards milestones in parallel to your main project management process.
In Teamwork, milestones are a bit like beefed-up tasks. Like tasks, they have their own due dates and completion checkboxes, but they are set apart by features such as the functionality to associate a milestone with multiple tasks which must be done before the milestone can be marked as completed.
With your project milestones in place, your team will be ready to work with a strengthened sense of where they are in a project and how well they are doing. This will help them go far and do well.