Setting Project Milestones Leads to Success (Part 2)

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Setting Project Milestones Leads to Success (Part 2)

February 12, 2015

Setting Project Milestones Leads to Success

In Part 1 of our Setting Project Milestones article we reviewed the effectiveness of milestones to simplify your project approach.

We’re building on this topic to cover how to manage milestones effectively and review the controls that should to be in place on every project.

Managing Milestones

Milestones act as interim checks to confirm the project is still on track.

Milestone management is a clear way of identifying whether your project is on track. When teams are managing a large number of tasks, it is very easy to get lost in the detail, and forget the important step of tracking whether you are still on track to deliver your ultimate project goal.

Milestones act as interim checks to confirm the project is still on track, and during weekly status meetings the project team should always be reviewing the current status of each milestone.

Project Controls

In each project there is a triangle of controls that help the team monitor the quality of the project delivery. These are most frequently referred to as Time, Cost and Scope.

Project Controls: Time-Cost-Quality

Each of these three controls plays an important role. If one element changes it will impact the other. For example, if the scope of a project increases it has the potential of impacting both the time and cost of the project.

In Part 1 of this article series we identified a Training and Development Event as our sample project. So using this Event as our example, if we double the number of participants expected (scope increase), it will take more resource effort to organise the event (time) and we may need to source a larger Event location (more time and cost) and our catering bill will increase (cost).

Managing Projects with Milestones and Controls

Milestones and controls are both important management tools. They provide the leadership team with a high-level overview of the overall project health without having to get involved in the day-to-day details of task management.

Rather than having to micromanage the project team, the managers can establish an exception management process. All they need to monitor is whether the project is on time and on budget and of the expected quality.

By using the milestones as interim check points to monitor the project delivery, the leadership team can easily review the project risks and ensure any potential failures are address proactively and mitigated.

Visibility to Milestones

In order to effectively manage a project and monitor the milestones and control, it’s critical that both the project and management teams have full visibility to the project progress in a central location.

This not only becomes an effective team collaboration tool but it also means that everyone has access to the most recent information.

Task due dates that are being missed, are an early identifier that milestone delivery could be in jeopardy. So by proactively managing your milestones, your overall project has an increased chance of being successfully delivered.

Our contributing author is Jay Artale, a Global Operations Project Lead and Corporate Management Consultant. Her business expertise is Change Management, Performance KPIs, Team Collaboration and Employee Engagement.

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