If you have managed even small projects, you understand the concept of project milestones. Within the framework of project management, a milestone is an event that receives special attention. It is often put at the end of a stage to mark the completion of a work package or phase. “A perfect project plan for regular, light-touch steering should contain no more than five milestones,” writes Graham Allcott in his book, How To Be A Productivity Ninja. “Too often, milestones become micro-management or seem to provide complication and confusion rather than clarity. So in each of your projects, you should look for between one and five milestones. Never more than five, never fewer than one.”
If you are managing a small project, the message is keep it simple:
- Establishment – Marking the fact that the project is now set up with a team in place.
- Underway – Checking the progress of the first few days to ensure that things have started in the direction that you expect and find acceptable.
- Mid-way – Checking progress at the half-way point to ensure you are still on track to achieve the objectives and that those objectives are still relevant.
- Completion – Marking the fact that the project is now complete, drawing on success criteria that you set at the beginning.
- Celebration – A milestone to celebrate success, review learning points and say thank you to those involved.