What Are Milestones in Project Management? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:02 Project Management Milestones
  • 0:45 Examples
  • 2:32 Questions to Consider
  • 3:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

In this lesson, we'll learn about project milestones, including what they are and how they're used to measure a project's progress. We'll also explore examples of project milestones and find out which questions to ask when determining a milestone.

What Are Project Management Milestones?

A project milestone is a way to observe, measure and monitor the progress and/or performance of a project. Milestones in general exist as intermediate stages that must be fulfilled before reaching a final goal or objective. In terms of their usefulness, milestones can be defined and provide a foundation from which to monitor progress. They can also serve as proof for explaining and reporting the status of a project. Key characteristics of milestones include their frequency and potential for providing opportunities for course corrections and learning experiences. Milestones can also be used to maintain accountability and motivate staff.

Examples of Project Milestones

Let's look at some of the different types of milestones often used during a project, including some real-life examples. Keep in mind that not every deadline met or task completed will represent a milestone. Intermediate stages should be considered significant in terms of meeting the overall project goal.

The first example is high-priority tasks or decisions crucial to the completion of a project. For example, if children will be participating in your project, you'll need to get parental consent forms signed. You may also have to research the ethical and legal considerations involved in having minors participate in a project.

Another example would be checkpoints or percentages of completion. For instance, if you are designing an advertising campaign, obtaining sketches and images might be considered a project checkpoint. If you obtain them on schedule halfway through the project, you'll know the project is 50% complete.

Deliverables that meet deadlines can also be milestones. If you are designing new computer software, the actual software is the deliverable. Therefore, you can measure the progress of the project when the deliverable or software is completed.

Another example of milestones would be the usage of time or resources. This refers to the specific number of hours or materials allotted to a project. For example, if a project is expected to take 10 hours and cost $10,000 to finish, completing five hours of work and spending $5,000 may be considered a milestone.

Some other examples of milestones include:

  • Soliciting and receiving funding for a project
  • Completing prototypes
  • Obtaining patent approvals
  • Hiring and staffing a project
  • Signing contracts
  • Writing press releases

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