Milestones break a project into the key moments or significant completion points along the project lifecycle. These points along the timeline can give Project Managers, or other stakeholders on a project or within an organization, a quick method to review a large number of projects to make sure they’re tracking correctly.
Milestones for Project Management
As described by PMI (Project Management Institute), there are typically five phases in project management: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & controlling and closure. How these milestones are applied to a particular project vary, so being able to be flexible is important and having a project management tool that is flexible is important as well.
Writing for PMI, Joan Knutson describes two methods for managing milestones – “Inch Pebbles” and “Deliverables.” These two styles allow PMs to use progressive milestone completion or attach milestones to specific deliverables within the project. This gives the PM options for using milestones within different project management methodologies.
Benefits of Milestones
The benefits of milestones center around managing successful projects as well as managing groups of projects effectively. One can think of milestones as allowing a project manager or a manager of a PMO or group of PMs to zoom out and look across multiple projects at once to see how they’re progressing.
Looking through a large number of projects at a task or even a phase level can be tedious at best or impossible depending on the number of projects.
Milestones on Salesforce
Milestones allow use of Reports, Dashboards, or List Views within the Salesforce platform. Giving the ability to step back and see a large number of records, but within manageable slices or groups is a powerful method of ensuring a portfolio or custom grouping of projects is running well.
As an example, a report could be summarized by a dashboard component that shows Milestones by status of either Late or Completed, allowing managers to see how their overall department is performing, then use the underlying reporting to drill into a specific sub-set.
Milestones vs Stage Gates
There can be some confusion around Milestones and how they function differently from Stage Gates. We’ve explored Stage Gates here, but essentially Milestones don’t typically involve the same level of review or approvals that a Stage Gate-based project does.
Milestones are giving periodic completion updates whereas Stage Gates are meant to allow an organization to minimize risk by allowing periodic, formal reviews and then gaining approval to “Go” and Move forward with the next project stage.
Milestones within Cloud Coach
The Milestones in Cloud Coach allow Project Managers to control their milestones using two methods. Milestones can simply be completed by the PM manually as they determine the milestones are reached, or they can be linked to specific tasks or phases to automatically drive the Milestone completion, removing the need for a PM to manually complete them.
Within a project in Cloud Coach, Milestones can also be used as triggers for creating other records such as Revenue Recognition or Invoices. These records allow billing and financial processes to be linked and automated by the milestones on a project. In this way, the process can be automatic so that when a PM completes pieces of their project plans, milestones are completed and other events are driven by the simple act of actively managing a project.
Another benefit of using Milestones within Cloud Coach is the ability to see those Milestones displayed within a list view, allowing users to curate their preferred collection of projects and compare milestone completion in one view.
This view allows the use of the sidepanel to see details, utilize Chatter, or even enter time against a project all while viewing the milestone progress on the group of projects.