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Creating a milestone plan - benefits & implementation

Creating a milestone plan - benefits & implementation
April 2024

Are your projects becoming increasingly complex and do you lack the necessary overview of individual sub-goals? We have a solution for you: working with a milestone plan! In this article, you'll find out why using a milestone plan makes your team more successful and productive and how you can make the most of it for your projects.

What is a milestone plan?‍

A milestone plan is a project management tool that helps you define and monitor important goals and milestones in your project.

Think of it like signposts on a long hike - each milestone marks a key point where you check whether you are on the right path. These milestones are not only fixed points for progress, but also motivational boosts, because every milestone you reach is a small victory.


In a project management tool, milestone planning helps you to maintain an overview, plan resources correctly and identify risks at an early stage. This allows you to steer your project to success in a targeted manner.


[.b-important-block]Milestones are key moments in the project that mark the completion of an important phase. They are like signposts that indicate that a significant part of the project has been completed. For example, a milestone could be the completion of the concept phase or the successful testing of a prototype.[.b-important-block]

[$tag]πŸ‘‰ What are milestones?[$tag]


Milestone planning in project management

Project management can sometimes be quite chaotic. That's why structured milestone planning is the key to keeping an overview. But how do you use milestones correctly in the project management tool?

Imagine you have a project to create a new website. Your milestone planning could look like this:

  1. Complete the concept phase: This is where you lay the foundations for the design and content of the website.
  2. Complete the design phase: In this step, the visual concept is finalized.
  3. Development of the website: Now it's time to get down to business - the website is programmed.
  4. Test phase: Before the site goes live, everything is put through its paces.
  5. Launch: The big day when the website is published.

Milestones like these help you to track progress in project management and to react in good time if something goes wrong. Cool, right?


[.b-important-block] When done correctly, milestone planning is a real game changer. In your project management tool, you can not only keep an overview, but also keep your team on track.[.b-important-block]

[$tag]πŸ‘‰ Good to know[$tag]


How do you create a milestone plan?

Proceed systematically when creating a milestone plan. First define the milestones of your project - i.e. the milestones. For each milestone, set a realistic date by which this result should be achieved. Schedule the necessary to-dos that are required to achieve the milestone in your project planning in a timely manner and preferably directly with dependencies. This makes it clear which tasks need to be completed when in order to achieve the goal together.

Integrate milestones into your project planning

Do you work with Gantt charts on your projects? You can combine this method for visual time planning with milestones in awork. A Gantt chart in awork not only shows you the timeline of the project, but also displays the milestones you have planned.


awork Gantt Chart with milestones
awork Timeline with milestones and tasks.


πŸ‘‰ Select the timeline view in your awork project and start with the milestone planning. To do this, simply set the planned milestones to the exact dates, title the milestones and enter the desired color.

πŸ‘‰ Next, you can simply drag the corresponding task packages or individual tasks into the timelines (or via date selection in the respective task) and position them in the corresponding positions in the milestone plan.

πŸ‘‰ If you store dependencies between the individual tasks, you can also see at a glance which task still has to wait due to another task and which can already be started independently.

πŸ‘‰ In addition, you can always see in the timeline view when a milestone is approaching and you can work on it together as a team.

πŸ‘‰ And best of all: we know that plans can always change. That's why you can also adjust the milestones in the project to your individual project status at any time.


Create and edit milestones in awork
Easy edit milestones.


Why is a milestone plan important?

πŸ’œ A milestone plan provides project structure.

It allows forΒ verifiable and detailed interim goalsΒ to be set, which all team members can view at any time. This also provides the opportunity to keep your team focused on the next goal. A milestone plan helps you to design aΒ structured project planΒ and makes important events more transparent for your team.Β 

πŸ’œ Milestones as subgoals.

Whether your project is small or large, using milestones in a milestone plan creates a clear overview of all the important subgoalsΒ of a project. They are milestones that take you and your team further towards your goal, piece by piece. And, of course, you can't miss theΒ fun factor: You always have a reason to rejoice when another section of the milestone plan is completed! πŸ₯³

πŸ’œ Milestone plans increase productivity.

Did you know that a milestone plan can make your team more productive? Pre-determined checkpoints motivate everyone involved in a project. By giving the team aΒ clear goal to work towards, the meaning behind individual tasks is immediately apparent - creating incentives to complete tasks. It's even nicer when your team has reached a milestone together, and you can thusΒ successfully conclude a project phase. ‍

πŸ’œ Milestones give you control.

If you use milestones correctly, it gives a clear overview of when sub-goals within a project have to be achieved. The milestone plan gives you theΒ necessary control to thoroughly check all targets. Your team can use it as a guideline at any time and work towards it with determination.Β 


[.b-important-block] Imagine you are planning an event - your goal is the successful completion of the event, let's say a new product launch. Milestones are like the important stops along the way, such as finding a location or organizing suitable caterers. Goals therefore indicate the end result that everything is heading towards, while milestones are distinctive points that show you that you are on the right track.[.b-important-block]

[$tag]πŸ‘‰ Distinguishing between goals and milestones[$tag]


Step by step to the milestone plan

Let's get started with the milestone plan in your project management tool!

Imagine you're planning a major website relaunch - let's use this as an example.

  1. Define goals: What should the end result be? Write down clear goals.
  2. Define milestones: Break down the goal into big key moments. For example: Web concept finalized, web design agreed, development sprint planning ready to go.
  3. Assign tasks: Now it's down to the nitty gritty. Which tasks lead to your milestones? Assign them to the milestones.
  4. Set deadlines: When does what have to be finished? Set a deadline for each milestone.
  5. Plan resources: Who does what? Assign tasks to team members and check whether you need additional resources.
  6. Monitoring: keep an eye on progress and adjust if necessary. Your tool will help you not to lose track.

This way, you can build up your milestone plan step by step and always stay in control. Β πŸ™Œ


Planning a milestone plan with tasklists
Easy milestone planning with tasklists and to-dos per milestone.

Tip: Save your project as a milestone plan template.

Once you have created your first milestone plan, as in the example above, you can save it as a template in your awork workspace with just a few clicks. This way, you can simply call up the template the next time you plan and start filling in the tasks and milestones straight away.

[.b-button-primary]How to: Milestone plan template[.b-button-primary]


[.b-important-block]Tasks, on the other hand, are the individual activities that need to be carried out to move the project forward. They are the building blocks of the project and are often detailed and specific. A task could be to create a specific document or to program code for a specific function.[.b-important-block]

[$tag]πŸ‘‰ What are tasks?[$tag]


Avoid the most common milestone mistakes ❌

  1. Unrealistic deadlines: Set realistic timeframes for each milestone. Nothing makes a team sweat more than impossible deadlines.
  2. Too many details: keep it simple! Too many little things can overwhelm and distract from the essentials.
  3. Lack of flexibility: Projects change and so do milestones. So plan for leeway so that you don't stumble when conditions change.
  4. Lack of communication: Keep all team members up to date. If everyone knows what needs to be done, things will run like clockwork.
  5. No buffer times: The unexpected always happens. So build in buffer times to avoid being thrown off track by every gust of wind.



A milestone plan simplifies your project management and reduces the complexity of your project enormously. The individual milestones bring your team step by step to the desired goal by representing milestones. With a smart project management tool like awork, you can set the respective milestones for your projects and always keep an eye on your project progress, thanks to small milestones in the milestone plan. If you're interested in more project planning content, check out our project planning hub.


[.b-button-primary] Curious? Try awork for free! [.b-button-primary] ‍

About the author
Talent Acquisition Lead
The bear-strong Panda update is here, bringing one of the most frequently requested features to life: a new task level, or more precisely, real subtasks.

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