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What is a milestone in Agile?

An Agile milestone is a specific point in an Agile project that marks a significant stage of development. It acts as a signpost to help you visualize how much progress has been made and what still needs to be done.

Let’s take the development of a new video game as an example. An Agile milestone could be created when the design has been approved, and the developers are ready to write the code.

Agile teams use milestones to measure performance and ensure that their project is on track to achieve its objectives. When you use milestones in Agile projects, there is a higher likelihood of your deliverables being on time — this is why they are an important feature in project management software. They are often shared with key stakeholders, such as investors, to showcase the project’s progress and assure them that it is on course to deliver ROI. 

When to use milestones in Agile

Agile milestones can be used at various points throughout the software development life cycle. Because this life cycle will already be broken up into several Agile iterations or sprints, teams may choose to place their milestones at the end of each one.

Fixed-date milestones are more commonly used in traditional project management methodologies. This is because Agile teams need to remain flexible due to the fluctuating nature of Agile itself. However, there are some cases where they are required. In fact, they are listed as one of the three types of milestone used in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): 

  • Fixed-date milestones: These dates may be external to the project team (e.g., a trade show) or could include a contracted date for a client.
  • Program Increment (PI) milestones: PIs can run up to 12 weeks long and usually contain six iterations. A PI milestone can mark the end of each one.
  • Learning milestones: These Agile milestones are used to denote questions about the project’s feasibility and capabilities. When a question is converted into knowledge, a learning milestone has been reached.

How do you use milestones in Agile?

You could use an Agile milestone chart to organize multiple milestones and get a bird’s-eye view of progress. 

Agile milestones and deliverables need to be flexible, which is why Agile Gantt charts are an ideal solution. With intuitive Gantt chart software, you can easily convert tasks to milestones and adjust tasks to reflect changes. Agile milestones are often represented on Gantt charts in the form of a diamond symbol.

Want to know how to create a milestone in Wrike? Click here.