In the world of project management, some projects can seem daunting or outright impossible. Take the Apollo program, for instance, and imagine what was going through the minds of those thousands of engineers at NASA when they got the directive that they had to put a man on the moon and safely get him back to Earth. Where would they start? How would they know if they were on track?
Like all successful complex projects, they relied on proper project management, and one of the most important aspects of a project is the use of milestones. Simply put, milestones are goals for different phases of your project, and they’re very specific in their completion dates, assigned parties, and expected results. So let’s dive into why milestones are important to properly run your projects.
They help to monitor deadlines
Clearly marking milestones on your Gantt chart during the planning phase of a project will help project managers to stay on top of all associated deadlines. They’re clearly visible to all and all parties know what needs to be accomplished as the date approaches.
Identify potential bottlenecks
Many projects rely on work produced by external teams or partners. If these external factors aren’t being tracked, delays become likely and the progress of the project can slow down drastically or even stop altogether. By identifying these possible bottlenecks, measures can be taken to deal with them before they affect the progress of the project.
Pinpoint critical dates
Using milestones makes it easier to see the bigger picture and readily identify important dates and events. For example, if you or your entire team will need to be out of the office for a mandatory training session related to the project, those dates can easily be identified.
They raise the visibility of the project
Visibility can make things easier when it comes to project handling. Everyone can see where a project is and what remains to be done. Milestones also facilitate meetings as they’re natural subjects of conversation as they approach.
Time and resource allocation
Time and resources are critical to the completion of all successful projects. Using milestones helps managers to distribute resources effectively so that projects are delivered on time and on budget.
Project teams need to see what they are responsible for. Milestones help everyone to be accountable for the part they play. If a team member needs to complete something before another one can get started, milestones a quick way to speed things along.
Milestone setting can be a tricky thing. Think of milestones as stair steps. Too close together and they become impractical, while if they’re too far apart, they become a problem. In fact, it’s one of the first things we define when helping our customers with their projects. Reach out to us for a free consultation on how to run your projects as efficiently and fluidly as possible! Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn for the latest updates on how we help support our customers.