When most people think of milestones, they think of those moments or events that pass which denote significant points in a lifetime — graduating high school, the first day of college, getting married. When it comes to project management, milestones serve a similar purpose, as they point to specific points within the project life cycle used to measure progress toward the goal.
Project management milestones include points like start and end dates, beta testing, external reviews, budget checks, deliverable submissions, important meetings and release dates. Another important aspect of milestones in project management is that they serve as reference points for significant events or branching decisions.
SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)
Milestones are a critical aspect of project management and also one for which you should have a clear understanding as well as a collection of the milestones that are important for your project and company.
The big question now is, do you use milestones? If not, you should start incorporating them as soon as possible. In most project management platforms, milestones are a fairly easy feature to start using. I want to demonstrate that very fact with the Ora task management app. If you’re only just now giving Ora a try, you might consider doing something like importing your tasks from Trello to make the testing easier.
What you’ll need to add milestones in an Ora-managed project
To work with milestones, all you need is a valid Ora account. You can use either the free or paid version and either the web or desktop app. I’ll demonstrate it on the desktop application, but the process is the same regardless.
How to add your first milestone on the desktop app
Before I show you, know that milestones should be well thought-out and created even before the launch of the project. You can add milestones at any point, but they will function best if created during the planning stages of the project.
Whether you add milestones at the beginning or during the lifecycle of the project, here’s what you do.
First, log in to your Ora account and then open the project in question. With that project open, you should see a toolbar on the right side of the main window (Figure A).
The milestone icon is the fourth from the top and looks like a signpost.
Click New Milestone and, when prompted (Figure C), give the milestone a name.
After naming the milestone, you can also select an associated planned date by clicking Planned Dates and selecting the required date from the popup (Figure D).
Click Create and your milestone is ready.
One oddity I have noticed with the Ora desktop app is that you can create milestones but they don’t show up. If you create milestones on the desktop, check the web version and you’ll see they are clearly there. Because of that, I would recommend you do this on the web version, which is done in the same way as it is on the desktop version.
How to attach a milestone to a task
Let’s say you have a particular task that is directly associated with a milestone. To attach a milestone to a task, open the card for the task and you should see the Set Milestone drop-down. Click that and select one of the milestones you just created.
Now that you’ve taken care of this, you can do things like filter tasks by milestone and close a milestone when all associated tasks are complete.
Take the time to implement milestones into your project management and you’ll find the workflow to be much easier to follow and will be more efficient and effective. After all, the goal is to work smarter, not harder.
Subscribe to TechRepublic’s How To Make Tech Work on YouTube for all the latest tech advice for business pros from Jack Wallen.