Life is full of milestones – and so are projects. When planning a project, aside from laying out the tasks that take you from beginning to end, you’re inevitably going to want to mark key dates along the way. One easy way to do this is through the use of a diamond shaped symbol in your Gantt chart, the milestone. Milestones not only help your team stay on track, they are also useful to you as a project manager to more accurately determine whether or not your project is on schedule.
Incorporating milestones in your project planning helps you and your team keep sight of:
- Key Dates Launch parties, board meetings, product rollouts and other key dates mark significant pieces of your project. It’s also helpful to include other one-day events unrelated to your project specifically that are still important for your team to keep in mind – like a group offsite or team holiday.
- Key Deadlines Key deadlines are important to surface on large project plans so your team can easily see what’s coming up and plan accordingly. For example, the date that website development is completed or when customer conference registrations need to be returned to qualify for early bird pricing. Key deadlines are related directly to your project but they aren’t project tasks. Use a key deadline as a milestone to reflect when a section of tasks or key task is completed.
- External Dates and Deliveries For example, a due date for a deliverable you are expecting from an agency, the date when your hiring manager has received an offer letter, or the day that pipes are scheduled to be delivered. These key events can affect when other tasks in your project are allowed to start. They may also be used as predecessors in your plan.
How to create a milestone:
A milestone is an important date or event that you can include in your project sheets, reflected as a diamond symbol in your Gantt charts.
- Make sure your project sheet has Dependencies enabled.
- On a new row in your project, write a brief description of your milestone in the task name column (‘Company Off Site’, ‘Registration Materials Due’, etc).
- In the Start Date column, enter the date of your milestone.
- Enter a Duration of zero.
If you’re looking to start planning with milestones, this basic project template is pre-built with dependencies, perfect for getting started.
Just another way to keep your team organized and on track. How are you using milestones? Let us know!
Til next week, dig in and explore!
- Support Team