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What Are Milestones in Project Management?

Jason Westland
Publication date:
June 2, 2021
Article Summary: 

What Are Milestones in Project Management?

A project milestone is a management tool used to delineate a point in a project schedule. It can be used to symbolize anything that has started or finished, and is primarily used as a scheduling tool. Milestones provide a way to more accurately estimate the time it will take to complete a project by marking important dates and events, making them essential for precise project planning and scheduling. They are also used in scheduling methodologies, such as the Critical Path Method, or project management tools like Gantt charts. Milestones can be linked, meaning that the phase of one milestone cannot begin until the completion of the phase before it. A milestone schedule is a timeline that uses milestones to divide a project schedule into major phases, and is used when project managers or sponsors need to share an overview of the project schedule with stakeholders or team members.
Project milestones are a marker that separates the end of one phase from the start of another. According to the project management institute (PMI), there are typically five phases in project management: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & controlling and closure. Milestones are more a period in time than the specific completion of tasks or project deliverables, so can you have milestones that don't relate to project phases? Traditionally, they break projects into phases, but you can choose to create a milestone to indicate a big task, important event, deliverable or more. Examples for each phase of the project life cycle include project approval, project charter approval, securing financing, equipment or resources, assembling a project team, getting your project plan approved, project kick-off meeting, completing critical tasks, producing key project deliverables and reaching project goals and objectives.


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Source Citation: 
Jason Westland
What Are Milestones in Project Management?
June 2, 2021
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