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How to Achieve Project Milestones in 5 Ways

How To Achieve Project Milestones In 5 Ways, Project Management Blog
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If small wins give you a dopamine kick, so will achieving Project Milestones!

Ever observed the signboards on the sides of highways indicating your completed and upcoming milestone? They help us keep our spirits high, assuring that we’re on the right path. This is exactly what Project Milestones do!

When it comes to team projects, the success of a project milestone largely depends on how well is a project workflow managed.

According to Project Management Institute, it’s evident that 37% of projects fail due to a lack of clearly defined objectives and milestones.

This being said, by setting manageable yet productive milestones, achieving project targets becomes a piece of cake.

Project Milestone, Project Management Blog

(Source: Filestage)

Contents

What is a Project Milestone?

Project Milestones are achievements or the completion of a major phase in a project. They serve as checkpoints on your project timeline.

Additionally, they help you easily identify the current stage of your project plus how far you are from completion.

What are Project Milestones important?

Project Milestones Creation, Project Management Blog

(Source – Filestage)

Inconsistency is the key factor that causes delays in the entire project delivery process, thus affecting business. Mapping milestones efficiently is quite a tedious job for Project Managers. Effective project planning builds the foundation for the next steps that lead to achieving a project milestone. Therefore, Milestone planning is a crucial part of project planning!

Setting project milestones can help you to:

  • Build a concrete project plan and structure.
  • Spot potential workflow bottlenecks.
  • Monitor project progress and deadlines.
  • Control over project deliverables.
  • Facilitate communication with stakeholders.
  • Keeps the team on track.
  • Improves team engagement.
  • Highlights important dates.
  • Analyze when the project can be completed.

What does Project Milestones look like, in real project planning?

Creating Project Milestones, Project Management Blog

(source: Filestage)

Calling out major events, decisions, deliverables, and dates makes it easier for keeping projects on track.

Here are some examples of Project Milestones that can be included in your plan—

  • Start and end dates for project phases
  • Key deliveries
  • Requirements review
  • Approval from Stakeholders
  • Project phase milestones
  • Final approval

Why Project reporting is important in the Project Milestone process?

How do you know if you’ve reached the final line and hit a milestone or if you’re just enjoying an empty victory?

Project reporting can be helpful in this situation. A status report can help determine the overall health of a project. It helps in analyzing if you’re behind schedule due to a change in project scope. Perhaps, a sudden shortage of resources can be recorded in a project report that can then help in rescheduling your project timeline.

How to set Project Milestones?

Identifying the pros and cons of a project makes a project go a long way.

Before jumping over to achieving project milestones, it’s essential to learn the right way of setting milestones.

Some factors worth considering while setting Project Milestones:

1. Scope & Complexity: Most of the milestones involve critical decision points. The whole point of planning a project milestone is to achieve the project scope and overcome its complexity in terms of resources, overload, duplication, and redundant tasks.

2. Project Timing: Milestones lose their importance if project timings are set close to one another. Spacing them out plus making them challenging to achieve triggers a sense of achievement too!

3. Frequency: Never label every task as a milestone! Space out your milestones and control their frequency to escape the negative impacts.

“Orangescrum auto-creates your tasks and notifies you via email on the frequency set by you.”

4. Accountability: Each team member should be responsible to achieve a workable project milestone. Scheduling and improving project evaluation are factors that influence a team member’s accountability.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid While Navigating Project Milestones

Navigating Project Milestones, Project Management Blog

(Source: Filestage)

Ambiguous Milestone Definitions:

One of the primary pitfalls of project milestones is their ambiguity. Vague or poorly defined milestones can lead to confusion among team members, making it challenging to track progress accurately.

To avoid this, ensure that each milestone is clearly defined, specific, and measurable. Clearly articulate the deliverables and criteria that must be met to achieve each milestone.

Unrealistic Milestone Timelines:

Setting unrealistic milestone timelines is a recipe for disaster. Overly aggressive deadlines may put undue pressure on the team, leading to rushed work, compromised quality, and potential burnout.

Conduct thorough planning and involve the team in estimating timelines to ensure milestones are both achievable and challenging.

Neglecting Dependencies:

Milestones often depend on the completion of specific tasks or the achievement of previous milestones.

Neglecting to consider these dependencies can lead to delays and disruptions.

Map out the relationships between milestones and tasks, and plan accordingly to ensure a smooth project flow.

Lack of Stakeholder Engagement:

Milestones are crucial points for stakeholder involvement and feedback. Failing to engage stakeholders throughout the milestone journey can result in misaligned expectations and dissatisfaction with project progress.

Regularly communicate milestone achievements and involve stakeholders in milestone reviews to ensure transparency and collaboration.

Insufficient Monitoring and Communication:

Monitoring progress is essential to identify potential issues early and take corrective actions promptly.

A lack of regular monitoring and communication can lead to surprises, missed deadlines, and unforeseen challenges.

Embrace effective project management tools and establish clear communication channels to keep everyone informed.

Scope Creep:

Scope creep refers to the continuous addition of new requirements or features beyond the project’s original scope.

When left unaddressed, scope creep can impact milestones by expanding project timelines and increasing costs.

Be vigilant in managing scope changes and assess their impact on existing milestones before accommodating them.

Ignoring Risks:

Projects are bound to face risks, and milestones can be affected by these uncertainties. Ignoring potential risks or failing to plan for their mitigation can disrupt milestone achievement.

Conduct a thorough risk assessment, and incorporate risk management strategies into milestone planning.

How to achieve Project Milestones?

1. Set a Realistic Deadline

Deadlines speak volumes about productivity. Setting a deadline is the first step to achieving a project milestone. Every project assigned should be attainable. This is why setting a realistic deadline is critical. Projects when easily attainable maximize productivity. Segregating tasks that are easy to achieve can help achieve a deadline.

In short, Small tasks + Realistic tasks = Maximum Productivity

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2. Set a Timeframe:

Defining a timeframe without a doubt translates to setting a milestone. Without a timeframe to achieve a milestone, your project is bound to go haphazardly. Milestones should include a start time/date and an end time/date.

To set a timeframe, it’s important to take project priorities and end goals into consideration. The entire project journey has to be mapped with time-bound milestones to make it a success.

3. Keep them Specific:

Assigning vague and generic tasks that could have a common ground with other tasks can jumble up with other projects and cause confusion too. Milestones aren’t effective if they aren’t specifically tasked because it loses the whole reason of setting a milestone.

Clearly defined actionable milestones can help you break through smaller challenges more effectively with less effort. The key intent of being specific is ‘Clarity’ of tasks and forecasting future challenges.

4. Keep a Backup:

A backup is required when too many milestones are scheduled at a time.  If these milestones aren’t checked periodically, you could end up landing far behind your schedule. Resource backup simplifies the process of resource allocation. Having a backup of enough resources will prevent disruption in achieving milestones, plus maintain uniformity in the project as planned.

5. Focus on the progress:

A project’s progress gets hampered when you’re stuck in the middle of two milestones. Resolve your queries and challenges while you’re working on your current milestones. Focusing on the past will only prevent you from progressing toward the end of the project journey.

 BONUS TIP!

Carve a contingency plan tailored to each project while planning each milestone. Make this your backup friend in case of delays and replacement of resources due to the non-availability of resources for a longer duration. In this case, resource allocation in your milestone planning weaves a greater effect.

Parting Thoughts

Journeys are more adventurous than the destination. Similarly, the journey of achieving milestones with overcoming challenges upgrades your knowledge and experience.

Paving the way for successful project completion becomes a cakewalk with collaborative project management software.

Measuring capabilities to an extent where transparency, team engagement and collaboration, and project completions make achieving a milestone worthwhile.

Are you ready to celebrate a Project Milestone achievement?

Making a mark in the Project Management space isn’t Orangescrum’s only achievement.

Helping clients overcome crucial challenges while achieving milestones has made this Project Management tool one of their favorites!

Ready to experience Orangescrum?

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