Life cycle of a project is a collection of milestones. So what are milestones? Let’s put it like this. As individuals we encounter milestones in every aspect of our lives, starting from achieving our life goals, as an entrepreneur or employee work towards taking the business to the next level or moving up the ladder of an organization. Similarly, projects also have milestones that are marked as important events that needs to be completed successfully in a specific time duration. You can say milestones are building blocks of your project timelines.
Project Milestones – What Are They
Milestones have multitude definitions. Here are a few.
- Accomplishment of any significant task, decision, or event.
- Completion of one or more planned project deliverables.
- Reaching an important check point in the life cycle of a project.
- Successful completion of a certain percentage of work in a given time period.
A project milestone can be defined as a strategic management metrics to observe, monitor and measure the progress as well as the performance of a project. You can say that it’s an intermediate stage for reporting the status of a given project. The key points of any milestone includes the frequency as well as the possibility for giving opportunities for not only correcting the errors but also the learning experiences. These pointers can also be used to instill a sense of accountability as well as motivate the team members.
Why Milestones Are Important
Setting Decision Points-
Once a project milestone is met, the project manager along with the team manager reviews the project on the basis of the pre-set standard. Therefore, its mandatory that manage ensures that the quality and stand procedures are set before the commencing of the project.
Elements of Success-
Milestones are termed as one of the elements of success. While bidding for a project, the entrepreneurs can use the milestones achieved in their previous projects to show how soon they accomplish their tasks efficiently. However, care should be taken not to frequently use the milestones to prove that the tasks can be achieved quickly as it can be detrimental for the growth of the business at some point of time.
Milestones make it possible for the business to review the tasks and achievement on a regular basis. When there is proper visibility it makes handling project easier and also raise the level of standard for successfully managing the project.
When it comes to appraise the performance of a team, the milestones play a vital role. The managers take into account the time taken to achieve the milestone of the projects that a member/team has been a part of. Again the status of the project is determined by comparing the project schedule and detailed plan with the actual performance data. Therefore, time plays an important role in successful completion of each milestone.
Milestones are created not only to see the progress of the project but also to measure the performance of the members of the team. At the time of charting out the milestone pointers and specification of the project, achieving the milestones may seem to be a far of dream. However, it’s up to the manager to motivate the team and push them towards the dream of achieving the completion of the project. Every level of the milestones has its own ups and downs. It’s the responsibility of the manager to push the limits of the team to achieve the milestones of the project. To make things easier for the project managers, the business should consider integrating a reputed project management software. Using a project management software, setting and monitoring milestones will be easier.