Running successful projects means sticking to a schedule and reaching certain moments in a project’s lifecycle that are critical to reaching the end of the project. These moments, called milestones in the project management world, help you stay on track and reach the end of the project on time.
However, suppose you’re not tracking these milestones or, worse, you don’t even have any important events defined. In that case, you run the risk of your projects wandering all over the place, missing critical moments, and not finishing on schedule.
Luckily, we have a project milestone template that can help you find the milestones in your projects, track them for your whole team in real-time, and crush those deadlines.
What is a project milestones template?
A project milestone template helps project managers track project milestones throughout a project. These templates help you define the key moments for each project you’re managing to help you get a clear picture of where you are in any given project, what the important milestones are for each project, and what needs to be done to reach those milestones.
Project milestone templates can be used to give you a singular view of each project you’re managing. But, they can also be used to track milestones across all the projects you’re managing to help you get a full view of where you are in the various projects you’re in charge of. This gives you a way to identify any projects that need extra help or even where bottlenecks exist in your project management system.
Why it is important to define project milestones?
Project milestones are important because they represent moments when a project matures to the next project phase. It’s these moments where an idea becomes a minimum viable product (MVP), where your MVP becomes a multi-featured demo, where your demo becomes a fully usable product, and so on. This means that milestones are a key part of project planning.
Beyond that, there are many reasons to define milestones for all your projects, even the smallest ones.
Create a complete project outline.
It’s one thing to create a project outline based on the desired outcome and who’s working on your team. But when you add in milestones that define the key moments of your project, you get an outline that captures the true essence of the project. It also highlights those moments you need to reach to move to the next step. Not only does this help create accurate project plans, but it also helps you know who the key players will be during each stage of the project, ultimately leading to a clear project roadmap.
For example, if you’re building a product and you reach the milestone where the back-end has been completed, you know it’s time to bring in the front-end team. Similarly, if you’re managing a construction project, like building a house, you know the roofers won’t be needed till the rest of the exterior has been completed. This prevents you from bringing in teams before they’re needed, saving you money and them from the frustration that comes with showing up too early and not having anything to do.
Visualize project timeline.
Much like defining the milestones helps you create complete outlines, you can also use this information to create a highly accurate project timeline of the project. And, because you’ve got the key moments highlighted, you can create visual models of the timeline. You can use something like a Gantt chart (we’ve got a
you can use for this) that shows you how long each segment of the project should take. A milestone chart gives you a way to quickly check in on projects and even makes it possible to create a complete visual timeline for all the projects you’re managing.
Stick to project schedule.
It’s really hard to stick to a project schedule when you’re not sure whether you’re on track or not. Milestones help you set a pace that pushes you towards smaller goals (the milestones) in your project. Rather than look at the whole project as one piece, you end up with smaller chunks in chronological order that don’t overwhelm your team. It’s much easier to know you’re 78% of the way towards a milestone than it is to see that you’re 2% of the way through the entire project. You can use a project timeline template to help you fully develop the schedule for the project and streamline all project activities.
Inform all team members of key milestones.
Milestones give you a clear way of communicating the key moments to your entire team. By defining those moments using a project milestones template, you gain a way to let everyone on the project team know where the project needs to be by certain dates. This information should be passed on to the team as early as possible to make sure everyone is clear on the milestones, when they need to be completed, and whether or not they need to be involved in a particular section of the project or not.
Gain overview of project and task dependencies.
This is another big piece of the importance of milestones (and something we’ve already touched on a little). Milestones help you understand any task dependencies within a project, which also help you determine the
for the project (the shortest possible route through a project). Dependencies are sections of a project that require a previous task to be completed before you can move on. With clearly defined milestones, the dependencies become obvious and you can start creating a logical order for your projects. It’s like the example from above, you can’t bring in the roofers until the roof itself has been built.
👉 Get started with this project milestones template.
Copy this template
After you copy this template, you can start utilizing this free project milestones template for your projects and business.
How to set milestones with Coda's project milestones template.
table. By clicking the Add Milestone button, you can add details for your milestone like Description, Teams Involved, Start Date, and End Date. Milestones allow your organization to prioritize certain objectives before others based on their timeline.
To see a visual representation of the milestones you can visit the
and assign each person in your organization to a team and role.
Project milestones template FAQs
What are the milestones of a project?
Milestones are specific points in a project that can be used to measure progress. These can be anything at all in a project but tend to be key points like important dates (like start dates and end dates), the completion of an important feature, or gaining approval from stakeholders.
They’re designed to help determine what moments in your project are important to pushing forward. Even things like meetings and presentations can be milestones, as they likely require the project to be at a certain point before you can do the presentation. The good thing is that you can customize milestones to specific projects, so you’re not limited to using one set of milestones (like the beginning, middle, and end) for each project.
What is the purpose of a milestone?
The purpose of a milestone is to act as a waypoint that indicates you’ve crossed a major point in a project. Milestones are similar to mile markers on a trail. They let you know where you are in relation to the end of the project and help you understand whether you’re on track or falling behind. You also gain visibility into your team’s performance and whether or not you’re experiencing any bottlenecks in your workflow.
What is the difference between a milestone and a checkpoint?
The biggest difference between milestones and checkpoints is that milestones are key moments in a project, like finishing up a critical component. On the other hand, checkpoints, on the other hand, are moments when the team stops, assesses project progress against the project timeframe, and makes necessary adjustments to workflow or similar things.
Checkpoints are mainly used to ensure everything is going the way it should, whereas milestones are specific moments that need to happen before the next step can occur.
Coda is an all-in-one doc for your team’s unique processes — the rituals that help you succeed. Teams that use Coda get rid of hundreds of documents, spreadsheets, and even bespoke apps, to work quickly and clearly in one place. This template is a Coda doc. Click around to explore.