Project management has evolved into a complex domain and successful project managers have to be smart to manage everything efficiently. The first step is planning and when planning for your projects, you will have to break a big project into smaller parts. In this article, we will highlight how you can set and achieve project milestones.
What is A Project Milestone?
Project milestones are specific points along a project timeline. They are your short terms goals that lead to your overall project objective. These milestones act as major project progress points and indicate your project progress. If you achieve the milestones along the way, then you are moving in the right direction to achieve your overall project objectives.
Why Use Project Milestones?
Setting project milestones is an important component of project planning. Why is it so important? Here are some of the reasons why we should use project milestones in the project plan.
1. Better Deadline Management
If you want to complete the project successfully, then you should keep an eye on deadlines. That is where setting project milestones can help you manage deadlines efficiently. It also makes deadlines more prominent so that everyone knows about them and works accordingly. This makes it easier for your team to achieve the milestone before the milestone deadline.
2. Highlight Important Dates
There are many different things going around the office when your project is in full swing. Board meetings, training sessions, and different projects could negatively affect your project progress. In such a situation, these project milestones help you to stay on track by highlighting important dates so that you make a project plan that is not affected by other events at work. This will increase the chances of project success substantially.
3. Better Control over Project Deliverables
Another reason why incorporating project milestone is necessary for your project plan is better control over project deliverables. If your project tasks are dependent on one another or remote teams and partners, then it becomes hard for projects managers to track the progress of any external factor. Setting milestones will give you much better control over project deliverables and helps another party to know what expected of them.
How to Set Project Milestones?
When setting project milestones, here are some of the factors that you should take into consideration to set milestones the right way.
When setting project milestones, frequency plays an important role. Do not label every task as a milestone. You need to space milestone and use them carefully by controlling its frequency otherwise; it could have a negative impact on your project than a positive one.
Just like the frequency, timing your milestones is also critical. If you place them too close to one another, milestones will lose their importance. Set milestones that are challenging to achieve. When your team achieves the milestone, there should a sense of achievement. This could only happen if you space them appropriately.
Make sure all your team members knows about the milestones and responsible for what they are doing. Track their progress regularly to know the difference between where you are and where you should be. Every team member should play their role towards the achievement of milestones.
Advantages of Setting Project Milestones
There are many advantages of setting project milestones. Some of them are as follows.
- Schedule Activities
- Improved Project Evaluation
- Celebrate Success
1. Schedule Activities
When you have a clear milestone in front of you, it is much easier for you to schedule project activities. Every team members know what the deadline is for every milestone so they can work accordingly. More importantly, if you are lagging behind the schedule, you can easily identify it and picks up the pace to reach your project milestones.
2. Improved Project Evaluation
One of the biggest mistake project managers make is that they leave project evaluation for the end. This costs them dearly as their project lags far behind and they cannot do much about it. To ensure successful completion of the projects before the deadline and inside the budget, you need to monitor project progress in real time from the beginning. Project milestones will help you evaluate where you are and where you should be.
3. Celebrate Success
With so many things to do and so many distractions to take care of, it is imperative that project managers and their team will feel the heat. In order to keep the spirits high, it is important that you celebrate small successes. Acknowledge the efforts of your team members and celebrate milestones with your team. This will make them more productive and eager to achieve your overall project objectives.
How to Achieve Project Milestones?
If you are setting project milestones that you are not achieving, then there is no point in setting milestones and all the points mentioned above would be useless. Here are some of the techniques that will help you to achieve your project milestones.
1. Set a Realistic Deadline and Milestone
One of the first steps towards achieving your milestone is to set a realistic deadline for it. Always keep a buffer so that your team has some leeway. Hurrying through to reach a milestone will not only overburden your team members but the quality of work produced will not be up to the mark.
2. Stay One Step Ahead
The best technique to achieve milestones is to stay one-step ahead from the start. Get off to a flying start and stay ahead of the schedule. This will increase your chances of achieving that milestone greatly. If you continue on this trend, you can easily complete your projects before the deadline and deal with any unforeseen situation easily.
3. Break It Down
Project manager breaks a big project into milestones and each milestone is further divided into tasks and sub-tasks. This makes the life of team members easier as they are not overwhelmed and have to complete one task at a time. Progress tracking towards milestone also becomes easier as project managers can easily see the number of task and subtask completed.
After reading this article, you might have realized how important project milestones are for effective project management. There are many advantages of setting project milestones, which can pave the way for successful project completion. By setting a realistic deadline, breaking big tasks into smaller and more manageable ones and staying one-step ahead, you can easily achieve the project milestone. Project milestones achievement is a prerequisite for completing projects successfully.