The word milestones used by project managers is a metaphor, the milestone is a block or stone that we find by the side of the road. One of the places we tend to find milestones is a big important part of the journey.
Places that are representing a significant achievement or managers have to make an important decision during the project lifecycle that’s how the milestone metaphor works in project management.
Project Milestone Chart
A project milestone in project management is a managerial tool that describes achievement in a project schedule. It is a specific point during a project lifecycle that is used to represent the progress of a project.
Milestones can be used to delineate the start or end date of the project, completion of a key phase of the project, or signal to recheck the budget and other resources of a project.
Gantt charts are a graphical illustration of a project timeline with tasks as lines mapped against a horizontal time axis. The length of the line shows the duration of the task and the sequence of mapping shows dependencies between tasks.
Importance & strategies of Milestone Chart Planning
Milestones are the key targets set during the planning phase along the lifecycle of the project to achieve ultimate goals. In PERTandCPM methods, nodes used to make network diagrams are also milestones and events. It just represents a start or end of the date of tasks and doesn’t consume any time or resources itself.
Milestones are more than just a signal of achievement of small goals during the project life cycle. It can be used as a reminder of many duties to perform at that certain time like calling a team meeting, re-calculation and allocation of resources, conducting a financial analysis of project costs, and risk analysis.
Milestones are just like tasks that can also be linked together and have dependencies on achievement. Instead of just scheduling milestones can also be used to keep track of the completion of the project.
For example, a design project may have detailed technical tasks to be performed to reach the ultimate goal, but milestones can be made as to the major phases of the design schedule like concept design, detailed design, initial prototyping, testing of the prototype, refinement of design and final design with the prototype.
Completion of each phase is like an achievement that can be celebrated, and all milestones are linked together and can’t be achieved in any other sequence.
Milestone planning also depends on the project manager’s approach, some project managers set milestones forward, start from today, and plans forwardly till the end date while others logically plan backward starting with the end milestone be achieved and then work hard way back step by step till present.
Project Milestone Chart Template Excel Format
As we know, a milestone chart is based on project plans, tasks, and project schedules so, when we talk about its format it’s understood all the above mentions will be included. Some important points are below;
- This chart must include the project tasks list.
- The project schedule plan will be on the scale bar in this template.
- Due dates and ending dates must be mention.
- Tasks dependencies are also included in the milestone chart.
Steps to Make Project Milestone Chart
- Create project milestones
- Create the links between the milestones by making a milestones network diagram showing how one milestone is dependent on the other.
- Assign dates to the milestone (Better to start from the end date if working on a deadline-driven project)
- Attach and allocate tasks to achieve each milestone and tasks to perform after milestone achievement.
- For larger projects, the next step is to make strategies to bridge the gap between one milestone to the other to finally achieved the last milestone or goal.
- After following all the above steps add milestones in the Grant Chart project timeline as per milestone planning.
How to Use Milestones in Project Plan
As we know Project Milestone helps us to show project progress through graphical illustration. We can show this illustration to top management as a progress report or to stakeholders, etc.
In the project timeline and Gantt Chart Template, we use milestone data like deliverables and their dues dates.
Here are 3 ways in which we can use Milestones in Project Plan.
In Deliverable Deadlines: As we know milestones are deliverables that are due to complete in time. So, we can use milestones in the project plan as deliverable deadlines from where everyone can see the project progress at that certain point. We can also evaluate which project task has been completed and which are not.
Highlight Important Task Due Dates: We can use Milestones to highlight due dates for important activities that are still due. This technique helps to determine due tasks and their progress according to the project schedule.
Potential Project Bottlenecks: When we are using outsource resources for our project including services and materials then we need to follow up to keep in the record. This milestone template helps to spot these types of dependencies