Milestones provide a means to precisely estimate the time it will take to complete a project, making them essential for precise project scheduling. They act as the anchor for important project events like start/end dates or an external review/approval. In most cases, milestones do not directly impact project duration, but instead, they surface the major progress points that must be attained for a project’s completion.
Unlike deadlines and goals, which can cater to smaller, more granular tasks, milestones tend to be part of your project’s bigger picture.
Tracking Milestones periodically is critical for a project’s maintenance. While most project management tools provide basic reports on milestones, a business intelligence tool like HappyFox BI can help organizations unravel more actionable data, get clear insights, and facilitate strategic decision making.
Read on to learn more about milestones and how HappyFox BI can help track them effectively.
Why are Milestones Important?
For high priority projects, milestones help in providing clarity to the team members on the important checkpoints in a project. For example, if you’re building a project for a client, it is important to keep the client updated on the status of the project. While project progress across task completion percentage may provide overall insight on project progress, milestone completion will help clients understand the “current state” of the project.
For long term projects, milestones act as important checkpoints. For example, if you’ve reached the 25% completion milestone 1 month later than the due date, then these can act as early signs that something is going wrong in your project. Surfacing such cases might be tricky within modern project management tools. That’s where the power of a business intelligence tool like HappyFox BI comes in handy. We’ll explain more in this blog post.
Scheduling Projects with Milestones
Milestones help motivate teams to gear the project to completion. Therefore, it is important to align your milestones with specific sets of tasks. For instance, if you’re building a new feature for your software product, major milestones can be:
- Finalize Requirements
- Ideate Designs
- Build the Feature
- Test the Feature
- Release the Feature
In Wrike, Milestones are tasks that are scheduled for one day and have no duration. Milestones are used as reference points to mark a major event or a branching decision point in a project.
Creating a Milestone task in Wrike
- Create a new Task in a Project/Folder with the appropriate Milestone Title.
- Click the three-dot menu button in the upper right corner of the task.
- Select “Convert to milestone”.
Tracking Milestones Progress using HappyFox BI
Setting milestones is the important first step, but you won’t unlock the full potential of milestones until you start tracking and reporting on them.
Milestones are great reporting tools for communicating with stakeholders who don’t need or want the depth of task-level completion.
These high-level insights help you instantly see which parts have been completed if the project is on track to hit its future key milestones, and how close you are to your goal of 100% completion.
You can still drill down to a more granular level, looking at the tasks tied to your milestones; this can help you see which steps and owners helped you get to a milestone or identify bottlenecks that might have crept in.
Tracking milestones lets you focus on your most important work and see the true status of projects while giving you the knowledge to share project progress confidently.
HappyFox BI provides you with all the necessary visualizations and tools you need to effectively track milestone progress/completion.
High level numbers as “Data Tiles”
Key milestone related metrics can be highlighted as “Data Tiles” within HappyFox BI. A tile is a snapshot of your data, usually at the top of the dashboard.
Identify the Milestones that are Overdue/On-time
While milestone completion is an important metric to track, the time it took to complete also plays a crucial role in the success of a project. Milestones completed on time have good impressions with stakeholders like clients and project owners. Having a distribution of overdue/on-time milestones will help you analyze and retrospect your project completion speed!
With HappyFox BI, you can create interactive report widgets with “Drill downs”, where you can actually narrow down to the actual milestones that are either overdue or on-time.
Pending Tasks across different Milestones
It is very important to track pending tasks belonging to a particular milestone. This would help in uncovering those milestones that have a lot of pending tasks. With HappyFox BI, you can slice and dice this data. For instance, you can add a “Project” filter on top of this widget to drill down pending tasks across milestones per project. Advanced analysis like Pareto can then be applied to get insights from data.
Compare Planned vs Actual Milestone Durations
Comparing the planned vs actual time milestone duration status across projects provide gives project managers the opportunity to see how their project is progressing when compared to their previously fixed deadlines and targets. Early trends that indicate slowness can be quickly noticed and accordingly project completion speed can be increased to make up for the lost time.
Milestones are used to manage the project work effort and monitor results. Reporting on milestones provides meaningful progress updates to project stakeholders.
HappyFox BI is a powerful Business Intelligence tool that is built for project management reporting that can empower project teams to make data-driven decisions and ensure maximum business value.
Get a demo of HappyFox BI today and accelerate your project analytics journey.