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What is a Milestone in Project Management?

A milestone is a specific point in time within a project lifecycle used to measure the progress of a project toward its ultimate goal. In project management, milestones are used as signal posts for: a project's start or end date, a need for external review or input, a need for budget checks, submission of a major deliverable, and much more. Milestones have a fixed date but no duration. So what is a milestone in project management? Simply put, it's a reference point that marks a major event or a branching decision point within a project.

Examples of project milestones

While the final deliverable or product of your project is indeed a major milestone, there are several other examples of milestones you should consider because they will ensure you move smoothly toward meeting that final goal. An example of a milestone in project management could be any of the following: 

  • The beginning and end dates for project phases
  • Getting approval from a stakeholder that allows you to move to the next phase
  • Key deliverables, meetings, or events

These milestones in project management examples show that the events happen at a single point in time, and will help direct teams and stakeholders to the project’s end result. 

Milestones break projects into phases

A good milestone in project management example is the launch of a product, where different phases can be easily broken up by key events, like getting final design approval for the product, or the product arriving at the warehouse for shipping. Every project management system should have four phases, and project management milestones examples should mark the phases of initiation, planning, implementation and closure. 

One project milestone example might be as simple as placing the final product order, or signing off on the cover artwork for a magazine launch.

How to visualize project milestones

You might be wondering how to visualize project milestones. This can be tricky if they aren’t necessarily date driven. One of the easiest ways to visualize project milestones is with a Gantt chart where you can understand which milestones are outstanding, and what tasks might be holding them up.

How to share milestones with project stakeholders

It’s much easier to make progress on a project if each stakeholder knows about each milestone. So how can you share milestones with project stakeholders? Simply assign stakeholders to the milestone, and the event will appear in their dashboard. 

When you consider examples of milestones in a project, like key meetings or events, it becomes clear why you’ll need each stakeholder to be able to see their individual roles. These project management milestone examples can be easily assigned to various stakeholders, whether they are internal team members or external contractors. 

Wrike even offers a built-in Conflicts Monitor, a widget that can identify potential scheduling conflicts so your team can avoid bottlenecks and make it to project completion more smoothly.

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