What are Milestones Project Process and why do they Matter?

Milestones project process are achievements that show an important step forward in a project, and they represent a clear sequence of events that incrementally build up to complete a project.

Milestones project process is a great way to track the progress and monitor results. They have zero duration because they symbolize an achievement or a point of time in a project.

When planning your Schedule, it makes more sense to start with several milestones project process. Estimate their completion date and compare it with the actual completion date.

Developing project plan milestone simplifies the attainment of the project objectives. Milestones serve as a tool for tracking project activities.

One of the major reasons some project managers fail in their projects is the lack of clear project milestones, thereby losing focus of what they aim to achieve in their projects.

Milestones Project Management is embraced by PMs globally to monitor the progress of their projects. It offers you an approach for transforming the tasks from a schedule into an achievable milestone.

The Importance of Project Milestones

Milestones project process

Milestones project process marks progress points that appears along a project timeline. Generally, milestones signify an important change or step in the development of a project.

Milestones are usually set in the planning phase of a project and must be updated as the project progresses.

They are visual reference points that break a project down into manageable chunks, create order, and help anchor the project making it less overwhelming.

Some examples of typical milestones include:

  • Start and end dates
  • Budget checks
  • External or internal reviews
  • Tests or inspections

Without milestones, project managers end up monitoring a multitude of individual tasks.

Completing tasks is important, but a bigger picture is required to keep projects on track to ensure successful, timely completion and make sure all deliverables are met.

Some pros of project milestones include:

  1. They help to monitor deadlines. Setting core milestones in the planning phase of a project will help project managers to stay on top of all pre-set deadlines.
  2. Project milestones help you to identify potential pitfalls. Many projects rely on work produced by external teams or partners. If these external factors aren’t being tracked, delays are likely to happen.
  3.  They help you spot critical dates. Using milestones makes it easier to see the bigger picture and readily detect important dates and events. Perhaps you or your entire team will need to be out of the office for a mandatory training session related to the project.
  4. Raises the visibility of the project. The profile can make things easier when it comes to project handling. Everyone can see where a project is and what remains—which is an excellent way to track project progress.
  5. Time and resource allocation. Time and resources are critical to the completion of all successful projects. Using milestones project process helps managers to distribute funds effectively so that projects are delivered on time and budget
  6. Payments to vendors are often based on milestone completion. Keep track and time payments to key suppliers to achieve milestones.
  7. Stakeholder involvement varies between milestones. Stakeholders typically become more involved as a milestone is approached. Use milestones to plan for when stakeholders should step closer to the project.
  8. Accountability. Project teams need to see what they are responsible for. Milestones help everyone to be accountable.

Lastly it helps demonstrate project success. Completing and passing through all your major milestones is a satisfying, visible way to describe the overall success of a project.

Examples of Milestones Project Management

Project managers often set milestones to help their teams work at peak productivity.

Milestones project process help the team recognize and work toward specific goals.

Implemented in every phase of a project, these milestones allow the group to understand what tasks will lead them in the right direction to achieve these standards.

Numerous industries use project managers to achieve the highest level of success with each of their projects. Some of the most common that use project management services include:

  • Engineering and Construction.
  • Technology.
  • Financial Services.
  • Healthcare.
  • Law

Many other sectors that rely on milestones and project supervision techniques to run different processes.

Examples of project milestones

1.  Obtaining Funding

Once the project design has been approved, it is time to determine the amount of funding needed.

Funding requirements are typically identified in the cost baseline and split up between the project’s multiple phases.

The funding sources should be identified, and milestones set to recognize when a project reaches specific funding goals.

2. Hiring Individual Positions

An important project milestone example is hiring individuals for key roles. Finding the right personnel for the project is an exciting step that leads to new phases of the project.

Identifying the staffing needs, asking the right interview questions, and setting milestones for each of those openings will help track the hiring progress.

3. Design Approval

Clients will need to be aware of the proper expectations for the projected number of revisions and hours a project will take.

With a simple explanation of what is being done and why customers will feel more confident as every milestone is met.

Keeping stakeholders involved from the beginning will make it easier to get feedback throughout the process and reach the milestones much more quickly.

4. Vendor Contracts

Just about every project in any industry will require an external vendor, prompting the need for extensive market research and analysis to find the best fit.

Once the conditions have been identified, proposal requests are sent out to multiple vendors listing the executive summary, requirements, and proof of concept as responses are received and evaluated.

Milestones can be marked off for each filled vendor spot.

5. Testing Phases

Similar to sample products, construction, and engineering projects will need to undergo testing and evaluation phases. This is when all of the systems are checked, including electrical, IT, and security.

A single milestone can be set with multiple tasks for each test. landmarks can be chosen to separate the process for all of the individual systems.

6. Fixing Defects

As issues are found during the start and testing phases, new project milestones can be scheduled for improvement.

Deficiencies may be identified in the design, materials, or quality of the project.

Though patent defects can be found through reasonable inspection, there can also be latent defects, which may not be discovered until years after the project’s completion.

7. Project Completion and approval

The most obvious project milestone example on this list is the overall completion and approval of the project.

After all process are complete, including the updates and testing phases, and all defects fixed, the final stage now marks the end of the project.

At this time, vendor contracts will be closed, a project completion report will be produced, and the project team will be released.

8. Communication Updates

Communication is the most important part of a project, and this involves keeping the stakeholders up-to-date throughout the process.

Standards are set for timeframes when the clients will be notified of the project timelines, budget updates, and future needs.

Setting milestones for these communications will open the way for feedback during the project and prevent unnecessary issues.

9. Reaching Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators are measurable goals that can assist in monitoring a project’s overall performance.

As a common project milestone example, they can include actual project cost, return on investment, and resource utilization. Each of these metrics must be actionable and straightforward, with a way to measure its success.

Managers often consider milestones and deliverables as the same thing, but the two are different.

A milestone is a signal for attaining a key stage in a project while a deliverable is a signal for completing a project stage.

The key project milestones are; phases, communication, decisions, planning, design, resources, processes, deliverables, integration, environment, training, objectives, and goals.

Gannt Chart Milestones

milestones project process

Milestones are specific points in line with your project cycle used to monitor the project process and ensure it follows the right path.

When using Gannt charts, Milestones can add great value to your project in the following ways:

  • Milestones are very simple to understand and flexible to use. It shows you how the project progresses based on the initial plan compared to the estimated completion date and the actual finish date.

Project managers or team supervisors can distribute resources appropriately or assign tasks according to milestones.

  • Milestones offer a top-level view of the project key dates and events to those unfamiliar with your project, i.e., stakeholders and sponsors.

For example, project managers can report plans for monthly business meetings based entirely on milestones to efficiently manage stakeholders’ expectations.

  • Placing milestones can help identify potential risks in your business, especially for those generated by your external partners.
  • Setting milestones could efficiently motivate your team because of the sense of accomplishment. Team members can celebrate or take a quick break just before the upcoming work pressure.

Key Reminders of Using Milestones in a Gannt Chart

It is sometimes hard to distinguish between tasks and milestones, especially for large projects. However, you can refer to the following circumstances from your Gannt chart milestone to decide:

  • Important dates of project kick-offs for professional meetings, business events, financial checks, product rollouts, etc.
  • Noticeable deadlines of your projects for both digital and offline tasks such as software development completion or submitting business partnership applications.
  • Dates to receive resources from or negotiate project details with your business partners, such as conducting external reviews or receiving equipment from an external supplier.
  • Team communication. Before setting milestones, you may unpack all the basic steps and communicate with different roles in your team for more details such as; the types of resources, budgets, duration, and more.
  • Normally, milestones can be set every month, but project managers should adjust the actual rate according to the specific workload and resource availability.
  • Milestones should be placed with exact names. In this case, the action of signing files should be considered a single task with a duration of Milestones.

Importance of Gannt chart milestone to the manager

  • Gannt chart milestone visualizes how projects evolve.
  • It helps you Schedule, manage, and track your projects in real-time.
  • Easy to estimate project costs and manage budgets.
  • Gannt chart helps you collaborate with team members effortlessly.

Creating milestones with the Gantt chart

  • Creates a simple list of tasks with identified milestones. The task list should have a start and end dates.
  • Create a Gantt chart table. This entails converting the task list and dates into a table for the Gantt chart. You are also required to calculate the length of each task and pinpoint the jobs that are milestones.
  • Create a graph. HereHere, you must choose the entire table for the figure and insert a Bar chart.
  • Format the chart. In this, the chart title can be removed or edited to indicate the project name.

How to Set & Achieve Milestones Project Process

If you are a fan of project management, you know that putting milestones project process ensures that you have organized plans save time and resources. Organizations that invest in project management waste much less money because their strategic initiatives are completed more successfully.

Not all project plans are created equal. However, a project plan must have; goals, tasks, task owners, and deadlines. It has dependencies and deliverables. Project managers should be confident this project planning art will drive their team to success.

If your project does not have milestones, then you are doing yourself a disservice. Project milestones simplify your role as project leader because they give your team marks to aim for while also showing stakeholders your progress at a level they are interested in.

The good news is that project milestones are easy to add to any project, even those already in progress, and they provide multiple benefits.

Milestones are powerful because they demonstrate forward progress in your project plan. They help motivate and align your workforce by enabling everyone to view progress and judge priorities.

Milestones help you monitor deadlines, identify important dates, and recognize potential downfalls within the project.

Project milestones can be added to any type of project plan to help it run smoothly.

They can be particularly helpful when it comes to scheduling because milestones will need to be placed alongside the relevant tasks or phases; setting up milestones helps you concentrate on target dates and adjust the project plan as needed.

Leaders should create milestones to represent important checkpoints in your project. Take a look at your project schedule, and pinpoint any checkpoints or important moments.

For example, if you are planning a product launch you would likely create milestones to represent finalizing the launch messaging, launching your product web page, and actually launching the product.

There is no set number of milestones your project should have. Some projects will only have two or three milestones—others might have closer to a dozen.

Instead of trying to hit a certain number of milestones, set milestones for important events that are happening during your project’s progress.

Internal and External Roles of a Project Milestone

Any project or start-up can survive without milestones. But, will every project be delivered on time without milestones?

That’s much more unlikely. Milestones are important for the team and project success. They help you stay accountable, remain on track, and complete things on time.

Internal & external roles of a project milestone

Milestones can be set up for both internal and external use.

Internal company milestones are typically a bit more detailed, they have a complete backlog of all features or tasks, which people are assigned to them, what status different parts of the project are at, etc. It also allows the company to control and improve developer estimates.

Giving developers a reference point for the time they have estimated the work will take them helps them stay on track and deliver on time.

At the same time, it allows us to track and see how we are doing in terms of fulfilling our estimates and how accurately each of the developers is estimating their work pace.

Client-facing milestones are slightly different, their main role is to manage client expectations.

They make sure the client understands the complexity and structure of their project. This then sets a bar for reasonable time and cost expectations.

If a new feature is added after the initial scope, the client will see where to put it in the overall structure and how other milestones must be moved and deadlines set back to allow for the new functionality. Delays to the original timeframe are then clearly understood.

External milestones also include a little extra time to allow for unforeseen risks. When a date is set on an external milestone, it is a commitment intended to stick to.

Internally, we push ourselves to keep ahead of the external milestones to allow some time for the unpredictable. It helps ensures that we always deliver our projects.

Final Words

Project managers should turn to milestones project management to track project progress and get a clearer picture of the project’s direction.