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A project milestone is a task of zero duration that shows an important achievement in a project. The milestones should represent a clear sequence of events that incrementally build up until your project is complete.

Project milestones are a way of knowing how the project is advancing, especially if you’re not familiar with the tasks being executed. They have zero duration because they symbolize an achievement, or a point of time in a project. Since a milestone’s start and end date depends on a task’s start and end date, task association is a major feature of a milestone.

What Are Project Milestones and How Do We Define Them?

What Are Project Milestones I Can Understand?

Not everyone is a project manager in the construction field, but most are at least familiar with the steps involved in building a new home. When building a home from the ground up, you’re likely to work off a list that resembles this:

  • The floors will be finished on Monday
  • The roof will be completed on November 1st
  • The gas installation will be connected at the end of the month

Think of each of the above as a milestone—or a clear sequence of events that build up until your home/project is complete.

As you’ve probably noticed, we intuitively talk about project milestones, not tasks, because this is how we understand the process. When creating milestones for your own projects, think of the house as the main deliverable, you as the project manager, and your friends and family as the stakeholders. If you’re planning your first project or simply need a refresher, some typical milestones include project approval, requirements review, and final approval.

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What Are Project Milestone Best Practices?

When planning your schedule, it’s a good idea to start with several project milestones at once. From there, estimate their completion date and compare it with the actual completion date. Milestones should be the minimal points of control in the project for those who are not familiar with it, such as high-level sponsors, stakeholders, and executives in the organization.

As a project planning best practice, place key milestones in the schedule to better manage a stakeholder’s expectations. This practice will help you define a dashboard for all projects, identify the milestones that have been reached and those that are lagging behind and manage expectations of those that are involved in the project.


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Preview: 2020 Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting

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In the 2020 Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

  • - Existing pure-play PPM providers
  • - Collaborative work management (CWM) providers
  • - Enterprise agile planning (EAP) providers
  • - Technology Platform providers from other markets

The guide provides insight into how well a product or service fulfills certain functional capabilities – with a forward-looking market direction and analysis provided.

In the report, Gartner, Inc. mentions/states that “by 2024, 50% of all program and portfolio management (PPM) leaders will integrate complementary technologies to enable portfolio decision making and adaptive work management for digital business evolution.”

Clarizen offers a complete solution that connects work across the enterprise, turning ideas into strategies, plans, and action. With Clarizen, organizations can work the way they want to work and have real time visibility across all workstreams in their portfolio. This keeps teams focused on the things that matter, provides the real-time information needed to make more accurate and timely decisions, and delivers results faster to meet and even exceed company goals and customers’ expectations.

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Buyer’s guide to project management software
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