A Complete Guide to Milestone Charts

In the same way that mile markers on the side of the highway help travelers know where they are and where they’re going, milestone charts help project managers, team members, managers, and other stakeholders know exactly how a project is progressing and how far it is from the finish line. 

While there are a few different ways to create and use a project milestone chart, the right software can help you better manage and track your milestones and keep your projects on course.

Keep reading to discover how you can use milestone charts in your organization to better track projects and ensure you hit all your deadlines. 

What is a milestone?

A milestone is a checkpoint used to measure the progress of a project as it moves toward its final goal. Project managers use milestones as signal posts for significant events in the project timeline, such as the start or end date, a scheduled review by a designated stakeholder or third party, a need for a budget update, the submission of a major deliverable, and more. 

Milestones offer a clear view of the major elements involved in a project and show you exactly where you are in the project life cycle at any given time.

Why use milestones?

Milestones are predominantly used to help with project scheduling. Smaller projects may only have two milestones: the start and end dates. Milestones are less common in other project management methodologies that focus on short iterations, such as many Agile-based projects. However, when managing bigger, more complex projects with a traditional PM methodology and a more structured approach to planning, milestones can help ensure that critical project deadlines are met. 

Additionally, milestones help PMs communicate project status and success to upper managers and stakeholders. Milestones allow you to take a step back from the granular task level and see the bigger picture of the project and its progress more clearly. 

Examples of milestones

Project milestones may include:

  • Project start date
  • Project end date
  • Submission of a customer report
  • Need for an external review or approval
  • A phase or stage review
  • A key deliverable, meeting, or event

What is a milestone chart?

A project milestone chart is simply a chart that organizes your project’s milestones into an easily viewable format. Milestone charts provide an at-a-glance look at precisely where you are in the project and how close you are to achieving the next milestone.

When to use a milestone chart

A milestone chart should be used in conjunction with any project that has milestones. 

Why use a milestone chart?

Milestone charts make it simple for project managers, team members, senior leaders, stakeholders, and any other vested parties to quickly visualize a project’s progress. Milestone charts are also a great motivational tool since team members and PMs can see how far they’ve come and how close they are to achieving the next milestone.

How to use Wrike for Gantt chart milestones 

While an Excel milestone chart will get the job done in a pinch, it’s a bit of a cumbersome process to create. A simpler solution is to track your milestones on a Gantt chart. With Wrike, this process is much easier and significantly less time-consuming than developing a milestone chart from scratch in Excel. 

In Wrike’s project management Gantt charts, milestones are represented by a diamond:

A Complete Guide to Milestone Charts 2

Here’s how you can quickly and easily add milestones to your project’s Gantt chart in Wrike:

  1. Select your project from the folder tree.
  2. Switch to the Gantt Chart.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the table on the left-hand side of the view.
  4. Click “New Task.”
  5. Enter the name of the milestone you want to add.
  6. Press “Enter” on your keyboard.
  7. Right-click the row of the task you want to convert into a milestone.
  8. Select “Convert to milestone.” 

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Why consider Wrike as your milestone software?

Milestone charts are designed to give project teams, project managers, and project stakeholders a quick and easy overview of project statuses. While milestone charts can be made in Excel spreadsheets, those spreadsheets are hard to keep track of, especially if they’re being shared via email. That’s where Wrike shines. 

With Wrike, all your milestone charts will be stored in one centralized location that is easily accessible by all vested parties. That means no more searching through endless email chains to find a spreadsheet. What’s more, Wrike makes tracking those milestones a snap. You can assign certain milestones to specific stakeholders, and Wrike will add those events to the stakeholders’ dashboards for easy tracking. This makes it much easier for team members and managers to see exactly where a project is and what they need to be doing to move the project along at all times. 

Give Wrike’s milestone charts a shot today — get started with a free trial and discover how much easier project management can be with the right software.

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