When you finish a project—a product launch, for example, or a website redesign—you might observe that the result is so much different from what you had planned. Sometimes, this works just fine. Other times, it can be a source of regret or a reminder of unmet expectations. Fortunately, in team leadership, you can avoid the latter by using milestones. Creating and checking for milestones allows you to catch issues, take corrective measures, and steer a project to the intended result.
What Are Project Milestones?
Milestones are significant markers of progress in the timeline of a project. Typically, a milestone marks the end of one stage and the start of the next, and they allow leaders to keep track of the number of days or weeks the team spends on each part.
A leader will usually set milestones when planning a project. They will update the team’s progress accordingly; milestones act as stop-and-go signposts breaking the endeavor into manageable parts. Milestones anchor a project and prevent team members from getting overwhelmed.
What Are Typical Project Milestones?
The start and end dates are the most significant project milestones; there are smaller but equally important ones in between. Budget checks, tests, inspections, dry runs, and external or internal reviews are all possible milestones depending on the project type.
A team building a physical structure, for example, would have most milestones centered on various aspects of construction like installing plumbing, wiring, pouring concrete, roofing, and the like. Meanwhile, a marketing project would concentrate on presenting and approving various aspects of a promotional or advertising campaign.
Why Do Projects Need Milestones?
Successful team leadership is essentially all about pacing a group of people to reach their milestones. Having markers for success allows a leader to stay on top of deadlines and address bottlenecks before they happen. Many projects aren’t 100 percent done in-house, and milestones help leaders see the big picture and how different events affect it.
Milestones also make things more visible, especially for outsiders with a stake in your project. Most people outside a team are only marginally aware of what happens in finishing the project, so milestones help them see what else needs completing.
These markers make it easier for senior leaders, C-suite executives, or other stakeholders to approve or allocate resources as needed. Use milestones to update stakeholders towards the end; at this time, they are more likely to want updates or become more involved, so having milestones helps them see the context of the project.
Finally, milestones help everyone stay accountable. Vendor payments are typically based on milestones. Keeping track of payments is easier when you have definite markers for success. Besides vendors, team members also know what they are responsible for when you keep markers like these, and they help everyone know what to expect from each other.
Milestones help leaders plan and monitor a team’s progress as they move through a project timeline. When you use markers for success, you enable your team and other stakeholders to visualize how far you have come and what else you must do. Beyond that, a milestone is proof of your success and a reminder to your team that you can accomplish great things together!
Make it to the finish line and bring your project to completion when you use Kudosee. This strategic leadership tool allows you to empower your team from start to finish and align individual goals to the company. Start your 30-day free trial or get in touch to learn more!