All of us have our own personal milestones that we want to achieve like owning a home or investment property or starting up a business. A milestone refers to a different type of achievement in project management however.
A milestone is placed at the end of a particular phase in a project to signify that the said phase/project has been completed successfully.
In the project management framework, it is the only event that receives special attention due to its nature. Another purpose of a milestone, as regards project management, is to indicate an important decision that needs to be taken immediately before the end of a work phase or a project. Thus, with this, a milestone can be considered to show both the distance traveled and the direction of the travel.
How, then, does a project manager or specialist add a milestone event in his or her project plan? The following section lays out the steps in successfully making a milestone event using Microsoft Project 2010.
Creating a Milestone
Upon opening your Microsoft Project, you will find the different tabs in the menu bar, which is found at the topmost part of the Microsoft Project interface. Once you have successfully located this, do the following steps in order to end up with a milestone:
- Choose the Gantt Chart found on the Task Views group in the View tab.
- Enter the desired name for you milestone on the first empty row in the Task Name field.
- Type “0” (zero) in the field that is labelled as “Duration”.
- Once you are done, press the “Enter” key.
A milestone usually does not have any duration (or 0 duration). However, if you wish to add a duration to the milestone your are putting, another set of steps can be followed in order to end up with it.
Creating a Milestone with Duration
Follow the first two bullets/steps outlined above and then do the following steps:
- Go to Task Information found at the Properties group of the Task tab.
- Click on the Advanced button on the Task Information. You will find the Duration field here.
- Input your desired Duration for the particular milestone.
- Check the Mark task as milestone
- Click “OK”.
However, do take note that when you are changing a task into a milestone, you may not need to go through adding a name in the Task Field (both for “with” and “without” duration) as the task is considered to be the label for the milestone.
Project managers have to remember that although milestones can be effective in monitoring the progress of your projects, there are still limits to its effectiveness as they show only the progress in the critical areas.
Adding a project milestone is particularly easy once you follow the outlined steps above. However, if you are using other project management software, a different set of instructions may be given in order for you to come up with the milestone.
Eastwood Harris produces project management training materials and online training courses on Primavera P6, MS Project and PMBOK.