How to Manage a Project with Project Milestones?

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Want to know how to manage a project with project milestones? Managing a project is a challenging task even if you are an expert in project management because it is hard to tell what exactly may happen during the course of a project. However, managing a project with project milestones can help you and your team members to meet the deadlines efficiently. Here in this article, we will have an insight into managing a project with project milestones.

What Are Project Milestones?

A project milestone is a management tool for identifying a certain point in a project’s timeline. These points can be used to identify the beginning and end of a project, as well as the conclusion of a key phase of work. Milestones can be used to represent any phase of the project that has begun or been completed, so they basically help your project to go on based on a detailed schedule.

Milestones assist project managers plan, schedule, and executing project phases in the same way that tasks break down a bigger project into manageable sections.

Why Use Project Milestones?

As a project manager, and an individual that follows a structured PMO you already know that well-organized project management plans save time and money. In other words, not using project management plans can result in not meeting deadlines and losing resources and budget. Here is a list of reasons why milestones are important for your project management process:

  • They aid in the tracking of deadlines – Establishing key milestones early in a project’s planning phase will help the better meeting of deadlines.
  • Identify bottlenecks that may exist – Delays and compression are likely if external factors aren’t monitored.
  • Easily identify essential dates – Using milestones allows you to view the full picture and quickly identify key dates and events.
  • Properly distribute resources so that projects are completed on time and on budget.
  • Keep track of milestone completions and payments to important suppliers.
  • Determine when stakeholders should become more involved in the project.
  • Encourage everyone to take responsibility for their role.
  • Demonstrates measures of success based on milestone completion and achievements.

How to Manage a Project with Project Milestones?

As previously stated, project milestones are used to track progress by dividing the project into phases. A milestone is a landmark that marks the transition from one phase to the next. Depending on your project, your organization, and other circumstances, the exact point at which you wish to define your milestones may vary. It’s always best to seek advice from industry specialists as well as members of your organization or project team.

Any form of the project plan can benefit from the addition of project milestones to make it operate more smoothly. You can add milestones to a project at any point, so don’t wait until the next kickoff meeting to get started. Incorporate milestones into your project management plans if you have recurrent projects.

Instead of objectives, deliverables, or tasks, think of your project milestones as moments in time. As a result, you should define milestones to reflect critical project checkpoints. Examine your project’s schedule and mark any checkpoints or critical times. If you’re planning to launch your app, for example, you’ll probably set milestones for finalizing the launch.

Project Milestones Examples

Let’s have a look at some typical project milestones at each stage of the project life cycle:

  • Approval of the project
  • Phases of a project starting and ending points
  • Obtaining approval for your project charter
  • Obtaining funding, equipment, or other resources
  • Putting together a project team
  • Obtaining approval for your project proposal
  • Kick-off meetings
  • Creating important project deliverables
  • Achieving project objectives and goals

No matter which industry your business is active in, these examples of milestones can be applied to your project. As a project manager, however, you can create any project milestones that you need to plan, execute, and track your project’s progress. There is no predetermined number of milestones that should be included in your project. Some projects will have only two or three milestones, while others may have as many as a dozen. Set milestones for important events that occur during the course of your project, rather than striving to hit a fixed number of them.

How to Report on Project Milestones?

Setting milestones without reporting on them won’t give you the most out of them. Milestones are excellent reporting tools for interacting with stakeholders. This allows you to quickly assess which phases have been completed if the project is on course to meet its upcoming critical milestones, and how near you are to achieving your objective. So, you do not contact them for every single move forward or backward in your project. Instead, you let them know about your achievement as soon as you have completed a milestone.

You can still drill down to a more granular level by looking at the tasks associated with your milestones; this can help you determine which stages and owners assisted you in reaching a milestone, as well as identify potential bottlenecks.

Tracking milestones and reporting on them allow you to focus on your most critical tasks and identify the true status of projects, as well as provide you the confidence to discuss project progress. Make sure your project management application offers milestone-based status updates so you can keep team members and stakeholders up to date on what your team has accomplished and what milestones you’re working toward next.

What if You Don’t Achieve Your Milestone Goals?

Well, it is inevitable. As we said earlier, the challenges of project management are hard to control even if you are an expert in project management. It is inevitable because there are different team members involved and there can be many external factors that you can never predict. So, basically, it is always possible that you don’t achieve your milestone goals.

If you don’t meet your milestone goals, take a step back with your team to determine why. Investigate the reason why your team could not achieve the milestone goal. Consider that it can also be your own fault; for instance, you could have miscalculated the deadline, or you could have set it too high.

Examine the tasks and deliverables that contributed to the achievement of your goal. With so many moving parts, it’s sometimes difficult to discern what’s going on and when. Look for a project management solution with a visual component that allows you to examine your projects in numerous ways, such as timelines, calendars, and boards, to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

Conclusion

Knowing everything about project milestones, you can now choose to add them to your project management strategy. As soon as you adopt some realistic milestones for your project, you will notice the change in the planning, execution, and reporting of your project. The efficiency that milestones bring into your project can boost your business, regardless of its industry. Wish you the best of luck!

Bio

Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP. As an entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, Reuben brings a wealth of hands-on telecom and business communication experience. His expertise is in helping small to midsize business owners build, maintain, and scale their communication infrastructure.

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