Use Milestones to Take a Checkpoint and Validate Your Status

Sunday, December 10, 2017, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

A milestone is a scheduling event that signifies the completion of a major deliverable or a set of related deliverables. A milestone, by definition, has duration of zero and no effort.

Milestones are great for managers and the sponsor because they provide an opportunity to validate the current state of the project and what the future looks like.

If the milestone is important enough you could perform an end-of phase review. However, some milestones represent the completion of smaller deliverables or deliverable components and don’t rise to the level of holding a full end-of-phase review.

You can complete the following activities at every milestone:

  • Validate that work done up to this point is correct and accurate. The sponsor should have approved any external deliverables produced up to this point.

  • Make sure that the rest of the project schedule includes all the activities necessary to complete the project.

  • Double-check the effort, duration and cost estimates for the remaining work. Based on prior work completed to date, you may have a much better feel for whether the remaining estimates are accurate. If they are not, you will need to modify the schedule.

    If it appears that your budget or deadline will not be met, raise an issue or a risk and resolve the problems now.

  • Issue a formal status update and make any other communications specified in the Communication Management Plan.

  • Evaluate the Risk Register to ensure previously identified risks are being managed successfully. You should also perform another risk assessment to identify new risks.

  • Update all other project management logs and reports.

  • Make sure the project still makes business sense. If a project is long, the business case may change as the project progresses.

  • Make sure the sponsor is still engaged.

  • Make sure the resources need for the next phase are ready.

These activities should be done on a regular basis, but a milestone date is a good time to catch up, validate where you are, get clear on what’s next and get prepared to charge ahead.

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This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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