A Milestone Chart focuses on planned significant events scheduled to occur at specific times in the program. Such events could be the initiation or completion of a particularly important or critical activity, equipment deliveries, reviews, or approval dates. Like the Gantt Chart, the milestone chart uses symbols imposed on a calendar to provide information about planned and actual completion dates and any revisions to the milestone schedule. There is no standard set of symbols for milestone charts.
Definition: A Milestone Chart is a program management tool used to track specific points along a project timeline.
Milestone Chart Benefits
The main benefit of a milestone chart is to allow the Program Manager, stakeholders, and team members a visual way to track the progress of a project. This will allow for early warning if the project is falling behind and allow for corrections. A good Milestone Chart is good for staying on target and communicating to the team.
Milestone Chart Development Steps
The steps to developing a milestone Chart are:
- Step 1: List out all major milestones: Make sure you list all the milestones that will need to be tracked for the entire duration of the project.
- Step 2: Place milestones on a chart: The best way to do this is to utilize an established template.
- Step 3: Track Milestones Status: Place status markers on the chart for each milestone. (on Target/Off Target/Complete)
- Step 4: Develop Milestone Details: Add details about each milestone to help track performance
- Step 5: Continually Update: Modify the chart as more information becomes available.
Determining your milestones is the most important step in creating a Milestone Chart. A chart without a complete set of milestones to follow will ensure the project has issues. A few of the questions you can ask to help in identifying milestones are:
- What is the impact of this milestone on the project?
- Is this milestone a deliverable?
- Can the project be completed without this milestone?
- Does this milestone initiate a stakeholder review?
- Is their cost associated with this milestone?
Milestone Chart Symbols
Milestone Chart Integration
Program Managers (PM) rarely use pure Gantt or milestone charts. Normally they integrate the information from these charts and display it in a combination chart. Such a chart can be useful in displaying the planned and actual duration of activities using the Gantt chart symbols and in monitoring the progress for completing key events in these activities using the milestone symbols.
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