Milestones in Project Management

By Mohammed Arshad Khan
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What are milestones in Project Management and how do they impact the tasks of a project or the final delivery of the project?  Understanding this is vital for any project team to achieve milestones.

A project manager in charge of planning and smooth movement of the project can accurately determine whether or not the project is on schedule.  A complex project gets broken into smaller phases by achieving milestones. Thus, the project can move predictably towards completion. Many times, milestones do not impact project duration. Instead, they focus on vital progress points to achieve success in the project. These are markers that signify and give input in the progress of the project.

Milestones are like dashboard reviews of a project. It allows checking the health of the project and a better view into the activities whose completion is critical. Milestones indicate more accurately an estimate of the time it will take to complete your project, thus making milestones essential for precise project scheduling. It can add significant value to project scheduling. It is normal for a project manager to move resources from non-critical activities to critical activities to ensure that milestones are met. This gives the impression that the project is on schedule when some activities are being ignored.

A project milestone marks a significant point in time in a project’s life cycle indicating the completion of an important phase.  Milestones are yardstick to know how far you’ve come in the project. By noting the completed milestones, you can measure the distance you are from the finish line of a project. Thus, milestones can prevent deviations which can cost the project delivery dearly. Project managers often set milestones to help their team work at peak productivity. In high value projects, project milestones help the team recognize and work toward specific goals.

PulseHRM has project management tool which can be used by the project manager to break the project to tasks and subtasks, assign it to appropriate people in the team by scheduling start/end dates and keep a track of the movement in the project.  Milestones can be marked and reports can be run to track progress and make sure of staying on track.

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Milestones achieved can be a reason to celebrate for the team and congratulate the achiever.  Success can be celebrated in whatever manner is right for you and the project. It can be as simple as a handshake or a note marking to the entire team. Maybe project manager or immediate boss might treat them to lunch or offer a bonus. These celebrations are incentives to foster positive energy of the team indicating the right direction the project is moving forward.

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