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What Is a Milestone in Project Management?

What is a Milestone in Project Management?

A milestone is a specific point within a project’s life cycle used to measure the progress toward the ultimate goal. Milestones in project management are used as signal posts for a project's start or end date, external reviews or input, budget checks, submission of a major deliverable, etc. A milestone is a reference point that marks a significant event or a branching decision point within a project.

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Examples of project milestones

While the final deliverable or product is indeed a significant milestone, there are several other milestones that will help you move smoothly toward the final goal. An example of a milestone in project management could be any of the following: 

Milestones break projects into phases

A good example of a milestone in project management is the launch of a product. Different phases can be broken up by critical events, like getting final design approval for the product or the product arriving at the warehouse for shipping. Project management milestones should mark the four phases in the project life cycle: initiation, planning, implementation, and closure. 

One project milestone 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, which can be tricky if they aren’t necessarily deadline-driven. One of the easiest ways to visualize project milestones is with a Gantt chart , which shows the outstanding milestones and the tasks that might be holding them up.

How to share milestones with project stakeholders

It’s much easier to make progress on a project if your stakeholders know about each milestone. So how can you share milestones with project stakeholders ? Using Wrike, you can assign stakeholders to the milestone task so the event will appear on their dashboard. 

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

Further Reading:

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Basic Project Management

Advanced Project Management

Software Features

What Are Milestones in Project Management?


A project milestone is a management tool that is used to delineate a point in a project schedule. These points can note the start and finish of a project, and mark the completion of a major phase of work. Milestones can be used to symbolize anything that has started or finished, though it’s primarily used as a scheduling tool .

If a milestone focuses on major progress points in a project, you can see how it is useful in scheduling. Just as tasks break a larger project into manageable parts, milestones break off project phases to help project managers plan, schedule and execute them.

Scheduling with Milestones

Milestones provide a way to more accurately estimate the time it will take to complete your project by marking important dates and events, making them essential for precise project planning and scheduling. Because of their versatility, they’re an important element of project documents such as the project schedule, project charter and project plan.

They are also used in scheduling methodologies, such as the Critical Path Method , or project management tools like Gantt charts , which can determine major scheduling periods. With milestones, you can better calculate the slack in your project by segmenting the project timeline into intervals, or smaller time frames to control and track progress.

Project management software, like ProjectManager , makes it easy to build a schedule with milestones. Use our online Gantt charts to quickly build a project schedule with phases, subtasks, milestones and dependencies. Try it free today.

A Gantt chart with milestones on a project schedule

Linking Milestones

Milestones, like tasks, can be linked. That is when the phase of one milestone cannot begin until the completion of the phase before it. That way you’re not blocking team members by having them wait or by not allowing them what they need to move forward with their tasks.

Now that we have a better idea of the role of project milestones in planning and scheduling, let’s define a common project management concept, a milestone schedule.

What Is a Milestone Schedule?

A milestone schedule, or milestone chart , is simply a timeline that uses milestones to divide a project schedule into major phases. Due to its simplicity, it’s used when project managers or sponsors need to share an overview of the project schedule with stakeholders or team members without going over every detail.

How to Decide What’s a Project Milestone

As discussed above, project milestones measure progress by breaking the project into phases. A milestone is a marker that separates the end of one phase from the start of another. According to the project management institute (PMI), there are typically five phases in project management : initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & controlling and closure. But when exactly do you add the milestones?

The simple answer is when you’ve completed everything related to that project phase. For example, completing the project charter is usually the last step in the initiation phase of a project. This would be when you place your milestone to indicate you’re moving from initiation to planning.

However, the exact point at which you want to set your milestones might vary depending on your project, your organization and other factors. It’s always best to seek help from experts in the industry and in your company or project team. A little guidance upfront can save a lot of headaches later on.

Milestones are more a period in time than the specific completion of tasks or project deliverables , so the question arises, can you have milestones that don’t relate to project phases? The short answer is yes. You can set any sort of milestones you want in a project. Traditionally, they break projects into phases, but you can choose to create a milestone to indicate a big task, important event, deliverable or more.

Project Milestones Examples

What could be better to explain how to use milestones in project management than some examples? Let’s look at some common project milestones examples for each phase of the project life cycle.

These milestone examples apply to any project regardless of its industry. However, as a project manager you’re free to define the project milestones that you need to help you plan, execute and track your project progress.

Practice Making Project Milestones with this Free Template

To get a better understanding of how to use milestones in a real project plan, try ProjectManager’s free IT project plan template with milestones.

Project plan with milestones

The IT project plan template opens in the Gantt chart project view of ProjectManager. This free template sets up the project plan, with the tasks to the left and the timeline to the right. As you can see, the diamond icons on the right indicate where there is a milestone. You can easily add them on any important date, such as when you assembled a team, the completion of a task, etc.

The milestones in ProjectManager’s free template can be set to be start-to-start, start-to-finish, finish-to-finish and finish-to-start. That way you can easily determine which of the four types of project milestones it is. Open the free template in ProjectManager and try it out for yourself.

Track Your Project Progress with Milestones

Part of scheduling a project is being able to monitor and track the progress of that schedule in real-time. Milestone charts are a way to track how far you’ve come in the project. By noting the completed milestones, you can measure the distance you are from the finish line of a project.

This comes in handy when you are dealing with stakeholders . Stakeholders are not interested in a granular, detailed report on the project’s progress. They want broad strokes that indicate whether or not the project is moving along as scheduled. A milestone chart is ideal for this kind of reporting because milestones show the major phases you’ve finished at this point in the project, according to your plan.

When you’re presenting a milestone schedule to stakeholders, you can show them the milestones you completed this month and the ones you’re on track to complete for the coming month— and whether or not the milestones were reached as planned or if there were any delays.

How to Report When a Milestone Has Been Reached

How do you know if you’ve in fact achieved the goals set out for a project phase? Without knowing if the objectives and key performance indicators you planned were reached at the close of your project milestone, then it’s an empty victory.

Project reporting can respond to this situation. Generate a status report and get a look at the overall health of your project. Did you complete your tasks on time, within the budget you set? For example, you might have noticed a change in your project scope. Perhaps there has been some slippage and you’re behind schedule. That’s not a milestone to celebrate.

However, it’s also not a cause for undue alarm. Changes are part of any project. The problems arise when those changes aren’t responded to. By running a status report you know what’s changed and its impact on the project. Now you can work towards getting back on schedule. When you reach your next milestone, run more reports to track your progress and make sure you’re staying on track.

status report screenshot

Milestones Can be Fun!

While you’ll mostly use milestones for the nuts and bolts of scheduling, they are also useful for celebrating project achievements. Obviously, once a milestone has been reached it’s because the team has done something right, like completing a project phase or producing an important deliverable. Why not use this opportunity to congratulate them?

Celebrate success in whatever manner is right for you and the project team. It can be as simple as a handshake or a note to the team members. Maybe you want to treat them to lunch or offer a bonus. Whatever the case, acknowledging your team’s achievement pays off in dividends in the forms of employee retention, team loyalty and project buy-in. You’re also fostering a positive relationship with your team and building trust, which is instrumental to a productive project. Using a project management software with team collaboration tools will help you make sure everybody is aware of these initiatives.

Who knew milestone planning could make you happy? So, why not add a milestone at the end of the project to mark when you’re going to have a lunch party or just a celebration of the completion of another successful project. The team will see this final milestone as an incentive to forge forward, and it will create more goodwill that you can bank for the next project when you work with the same team.

How to Use Milestones in Gantt Charts

When you’re using project management software like ProjectManager , your milestones are added to the Gantt chart by adding the diamond icon to a point on the project timeline. To create a milestone, pick the task on your schedule and change the property to a milestone. By hovering over the milestone icon, you can view its name.

With our award-winning online Gantt charts , ProjectManager lets you take full advantage of milestones. This interactive planning tool takes the complexity out of creating and editing a Gantt chart. When you’re planning the project, just add the tasks and their duration, including the due date, and the Gantt chart will populate the timeline automatically.

a screenshot of a gantt chart in ProjectManager with diamonds on the chart that represent milestones

With ProjectManager, you can easily assign tasks to your team members and watch their progress as they move towards achieving project milestones. Our Gantt chart software also provides your team with a platform for collaboration. They can share updates and files, enabling dialogues at the task level. You can even set up automatic alerts to make sure milestones are met.

Reporting on milestones for stakeholders is also streamlined because you can view progress in real-time and, with your dashboard , turn that data into clear and colorful charts that can be shared however you see fit. Milestones have never been easier to use.

Milestones are just one of the many project management tools you get when using ProjectManager . Our cloud-based project management software provides online Gantt charts with milestones, real-time data, and a collaborative platform to make you and your team more efficient and productive. See how it can help you manage projects by taking a free 30-day trial today!

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project management tasks and milestones

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project management tasks and milestones

As a project manager or management if you want to  monitor and control project work  then it is vital to understand the difference between milestones and tasks. Also, you must know what is project control and monitoring?

Milestones and tasks indicate important dates in a project's schedule. Because a typical project will include many milestones and summary tasks, management professionals should understand what each one does. 

A project milestone and task may seem to have the same meaning, yet they have quite distinct effects on a project's long-term objectives.

So, what is a project milestone? It is a management tool for identifying a certain point in a project's timeline. The  project milestone  may be used to indicate the beginning and end of a project and the conclusion of a significant phase of work. Milestones may be used to represent anything that has begun or been completed (its duration), although they are most often used as a scheduling tool. 

You can see how a milestone and task may be helpful in scheduling if it focuses on key progress milestones in a project. Milestones assist project managers plan, organize, create and execute project stages in the same way that tasks break down a bigger project into manageable pieces.


When you've finished everything relevant to that project phase, is the straightforward answer. Completing the project charter, for example, is typically the final step in the project's start phase. This is the point at which you will set or create your milestone to show that you've progressed from commencement to planning.

However, depending on your project, your organization, and other variables, the precise moment you wish to create or add your milestones may differ. It's always advisable to seek advice from industry specialists and members of your business or project team. A little advice now will save you a lot of hassle.

A project task is a smaller, more manageable component of a larger project. Tasks are like a staircase to the finish line; each step ahead brings you closer to your objectives.

The effective execution of each job along the trip is required for a project's successful completion. The following sections describe different project management methods that may assist you in breaking down your project and effectively managing your tasks. ​

A project team typically has several activities planned. Each job will be given to a particular member of the group, and that individual will be in charge of performing the work within a certain amount of time.


Writing an article (like this one) or setting up a meeting are examples of tasks. For more efficient outcomes, complex, time-consuming activities may be split into smaller subtasks. 

A Project Should Be Broken Down into Smaller Tasks

Creating reasonable workloads, evaluating task dependencies, and, of course, communicating across teams to prevent duplicate work or bottlenecks are all part of task management.

To prevent these problems, you'll need a method to break down the project's high-level deliverables and objectives into specific activities.

The Work Breakdown Structure

The PMI Guidebook's approved way of breaking down projects is the work breakdown structure (WBS).

You must first split the project into the real deliverables needed to give the end product or result to the customer to find out how to break it down into tasks.

If you create a mountain bike, for example, you may click (split) it down into the frame, handlebars, pedals, wheels, chains, and so on.

Management evaluating the projects do not have time to examine all the project activities, task and deliverables. Use a milestone chart in this instance. A milestone tracker is a list of project deliverables with short but detailed information on the project's overall health.

Large project schedules include many related tasks that result in milestones. In other words, the milestone and task of your project walk hand in hand to achieve desired goals.

The Gantt chart milestones are checkpoints that are used to specify vital points along with your project schedule when checked on a gantt chart. The data points in the Gantt chart can be essential dates and deadlines, or other key events in your project. Please refrain from confusing tasks from milestones in the Gantt chart because they are not the same. 

On the other hand, a Pmo maturity model is a Project management tool that can help you record and analyze the level of sophistication for project management offices and systems.

If you are part of the management, then understanding this distinction is critical when setting schedules. Milestone is a point on the calendar with one clearly defined deliverable; tasks are activities required to accomplish that milestone. Tasks or activities have start and finish dates. A milestone is a single date on which delivery is accomplished.

15 Examples of Milestones in Project Management

project management tasks and milestones

The world of project management is full of success stories and significant breakthroughs every step of the way.

Each milestone can determine the beginning and end of a project, as well as some significant work advances in its duration.

Also, milestones will determine a specific point in the project that will significantly impact the medium and long term.

They keep your project and team on track and focused on achieving objectives. Ultimately, you can map the project’s development through this journey .

On that note, this article will tackle the concept of project milestones, their importance, and their benefits.

You’ll get the opportunity to discover a selection of 15 examples of milestones in project management and some frequently asked questions.

1. Planning

3. hiring individual position.

4. Training

5. Vendor contracts

6. completing critical tasks, 7. testing stages, 8. defects fixing, 9. project approval , 10. important meetings and presentations, 11. requirements review, 12. design approval, 13. project phase milestones.

14. Reaching KPI’s

15. Final approval

What’s a milestone in project management.

Milestones stand as checkpoints on your project timeline . Through this manner, you can quickly pinpoint at which stage every project is and when you’ll be able to complete it.

A milestone in a project stands as a crucial management tool that you must use to define a specific turning point in the duration of your project.

It’s a form of schedule because, as a project manager, you can calculate efforts and timings toward the critical milestone.

The truth is that each task becomes part of various steps in each project, which means that the milestone’s job is to define the beginning and end of each step.

The project manager can now plan, schedule, and execute these steps.

What’s a milestone in project management?

What’s so essential and beneficial about project milestones?

In the context of project management, milestones equal development. But the truth is that it’s also essential to understand the importance and benefits that they have:

Learn how to create a project management communication plan to achieve your milestones.

15 Examples of milestones in project management

Following, we have 15 examples of milestones in project management that can fit within your project, regardless of the industry you work in.

Your job now is to plan and define which milestones from the list could apply to your case.

Any of the following examples will help you monitor its progress, as well as increase productivity:

Examples of milestones in project management

When planning for your project, you must consider all the details, from milestones to meetings and deadlines.

Everything must be planned so the team can stay sharp and focus on the goals.

To help you in this stage, a project management checklist will be beneficial.

Get to know how to use a planner and how it helps you with project management .

Funding is vital to every project because otherwise, you don’t have the resources to carry it to the end.

With funding, you’ll get the resources you need for the tasks you require to be completed. It’s also essential that you grant funding to unexpected events to happen throughout the project.

For every project, there are designated positions for specifically skilled people.

As a project manager, it’s your job to find a better-qualified team and work tirelessly toward completing your project.

a man learning at work

4. Training 

After recruiting the perfect team for your project, training them with related activities is essential.

You can train them in-house or look for a specialized outsourcing company.

Read our blog to find out how time management training helps increase employee productivity .

There are a lot of industries that need external vendors to feed the project. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to analyze the market and find the best vendor.

After the strategic search, you can secure some proposals for the chosen vendors and mark the milestone as the vendors contact you to collaborate.

Milestones are advantageous for the critical tasks that need to be prioritized and completed by your team.

Some tasks present as more challenging, meaning they will take longer to complete.

Once those critical tasks are completed, you’ve reached a checkpoint/milestone designed to demonstrate its success.

Are you struggling with priorities? Get to know the best prioritization techniques to effectively manage your team’s workload.

a team testing their design

Some planned projects need to go through a series of tests and evaluations before getting the green light.

The tests could be checking IT, electrical, and security systems. You can either draw a milestone for each test or only one for the series of conducted tests.

Generally, after the tests, it’s only standard that some mistakes are detected.

In that case, milestones can be scheduled to repair those issues. It can happen due to the design, materials, or quality. 

After the stakeholders approve the project charter, it’s time for the project to begin.

Now that you have reunited all that you need to do, you will need to get your hands dirty and start working on the project you have planned.

If you need help in this stage, it might be a good idea to watch some of the best project management videos .

project management tasks and milestones

A kick-off meeting should always occur once the project is ready to start.

There, you should talk about the first steps and get to know and introduce the team. Throughout the project, many important meetings and presentations should evaluate the project’s status, what to do, and how everything is going.  

TIP : Read our article about how to lead a meeting .

This is a critical milestone to share with your stakeholders. You’ll need to bring the project plan and discuss the project’s needs along the journey. Once the stakeholder reviews and approves, you’ll finally get to work on the project.

At this time, you and your team will need to draw the project design and present it to the stakeholder.

After some possible adjustments and the final approval, you’ve reached an important milestone.

This is called the development or testing phase. You and your team should be working together to implement all the approved elements. It usually takes a lot of time to get it right, but with the right team and tools, nothing is impossible.

project management milestones

14. Reaching KPIs

KPIs are K ey P erformance I ndicators. These are measurable qualities that help monitor the project’s performance.

For example, they can include costs, return on investment, resource utilization and many more.

Through these indicators, as a project manager, you should be able to evaluate the project’s progress and what it needs to improve.

This is the most exciting and nerve-wracking milestone of them all. Getting the final approval is not an easy task, especially when you’re running a project that has a lot of steps toward its success.

You have a finished product ready after testing and evaluation at this stage. Now it’s tricky; you need to present it to the stakeholders and await their feedback.

The fantastic news is that once you have their final approval, you have reached completion. You have officially grasped the final milestone.

How to organize a milestone list

The sample list describes how to organize them since you can have many milestones.

To keep track of their detailed indicators, it’s important to state those above to share with the stakeholders through a detailed report. In a nutshell, this sample provides an accessible document for everyone to understand perfectly. 

How many milestones should a project have? 

There’s no specific number of milestones to have on a project. Instead of focusing on the number of milestones, you should set milestones for significant events that will take place in your project.

What’s the duration of a milestone project management?

They have zero duration because it’s considered a checkpoint or specific development throughout the project.

Nowadays, project management is talked about extensively because it evolved through the work of many companies to enhance productivity.

There are a lot of tools out there that help you to prioritize, monitor, and plan throughout every given project. 

Through these examples of project management milestones, you can conclude that this represents a crucial tool to develop events and tasks that are successfully completed.

It’s also essential to stay on top of things and observe all the effort assigned to your project so that you can implement it most strategically.

You should also know that milestones are not classified as work activities but as significant events that make a mark throughout your project.

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What Is a Milestone in Project Management? Examples and Tips

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project management tasks and milestones

Project plans are maps that chart the course of your projects. As you plan your project , you’ll begin to map out the tasks, dependencies, task owners, and more. 

But don’t forget a very important component of any project plan: milestones.

What is a project milestone?: A quick definition

A milestone is a marker in a project that signifies a change or stage in development. Milestones are powerful components in project management because they show key events and map forward movement in your project plan.

Milestones act as signposts through the course of your project, helping ensure you stay on track. Without project milestone tracking, you’re just monitoring tasks and not necessarily following the right path in your project.

What’s the difference between tasks and milestones?

You’re not building a rocket here—you’re building a project plan , and the components aren’t that complex. That said, distinguishing between tasks and milestones can be difficult on larger projects, or if the project you’re managing just isn’t within the realm of your expertise (yet).

If you’ve ever been confused about what is (or isn't) a milestone in your gantt chart, ask yourself these questions:

Essentially, you want to set the most important events of your project as milestones so they can be easily seen and mapped by the project team. Milestones are given additional significance over tasks in a plan so the project manager can track the tasks while the team and stakeholders focus on forward progress.

Here’s how to tell the difference between milestones vs tasks when looking at your plan in TeamGantt:

Examples of milestones in project management

Milestones make it easier to keep projects on track by calling out major events, dates, decisions, and deliverables. Here are a few examples of project milestones you might include in your plan:

How to use key milestones in your project plan

Project milestones do more than just show progress—they can help you communicate what’s happening with your project. 

When creating a gantt chart , milestones provide an easy way to see major dates or deliverables at a glance. That means anyone who views your gantt chart can quickly tell where things are at any given moment.

Now that you understand what a milestone is and why it’s important, let’s dig a little deeper and explore 3 common ways using milestones can benefit your projects.

Monitor deadlines for deliverables more easily

No plan is ever complete without a list of deadlines ! The best way to make them noticeable is to use the project management milestones and deliverables technique. What does this mean? Make the deliverables project milestones!

Why do this? Well, it’s no secret that not everyone wants to pore over your beautiful project plan to find key dates. Most people—your teammates included—want a top-level view of key dates and events. Milestones are great for this purpose because they’re called out in a special way—usually with a diamond symbol—in project plans.

While you should list the tasks and effort leading up to a project milestone, be sure to present the milestone at the end of those tasks to signify a delivery, or even a presentation of, the deliverable.

Here's an example of how one team uses milestones to track an important deadline in their project.

Spotlight important dates

Are there days from now until the end of your project that could impact your project in some way? Maybe your team will be out of the office for a mandatory training. Or perhaps there’s a board meeting you’re expected to attend.

It’s important to keep all of these important events in mind when you’re planning a project because they could possibly impact your project schedule . So why not include them as project milestones so you can track them all in one place?

In this example, the team’s off-site strat-op meeting has been added to the project plan as a milestone so work can be scheduled around it.

date milestone in gantt chart

Identify potential project bottlenecks

Many projects rely on the work produced by external teams or partners to make forward progress. If you’re not tracking those external factors somewhere, there’s a great chance you’ll forget to follow-up on it.

That’s why it’s important to list these deliverables as project milestones if you’re working on a project that depends on someone or something outside of your project. Here’s an example of how you might use a milestone to track a client approval.

deliverable milestone in gantt chart

Quick tips for using project milestones in TeamGantt

Once you’ve mapped out your overall process and plan with your team, you can add tasks, identify gantt chart milestones, and determine task owners. Project milestones are easy to create and track because you’ve called out the most important points in your project. 

Let’s take a quick look at how project milestones work in TeamGantt.

How to set and schedule milestones in your gantt chart

You can set a milestone for your project in just a couple of clicks in TeamGantt. This quick tutorial shows you how to add milestones to your project schedule once you’ve signed up for a TeamGantt account :

How to change a task to a milestone

Need to change a task to a milestone on your gantt chart? Simply follow these steps:

Example of how to change a task to a milestone in the gantt chart using TeamGantt

How to mark a milestone as complete

Nothing’s quite as satisfying as checking a major milestone off your list! To update the status of a milestone in TeamGantt, simply click the checkbox in the Progress column of your gantt chart to mark it as complete.

Example of a completed milestone on the gantt chart in TeamGantt

How to share project milestones with clients and stakeholders

Want to give clients and stakeholders a high-level view of the project? Follow these steps to share a PDF of key project milestones in your gantt chart.

1. Filter your project by milestones.

From Gantt view, click the All Dates menu at the top of your gantt chart, and select Only Milestones from the drop-down.

filter gantt chart by project milestones

2. Export your filtered project to a PDF file.

Navigate to your project's Menu , and select Print/Export PDF from the drop-down.

export gantt chart with project milestones to PDF

Customize your PDF settings, then click View PDF to complete the export. From there, you can download and/or print your PDF to share with clients and stakeholders.

share PDF of gantt chart filtered by project milestones

Who would have thought such a critical step could be so easy?

Hit every project milestone with ease

TeamGantt makes it easy to create, track, and collaborate on all your project milestones so nothing slips through the cracks.

You’ll have all the features you need to ensure projects finish on time and under budget—from drag and drop simplicity and team collaboration to customizable views and workload management.

Best of all, it’s all wrapped up in a simple and intuitive interface your whole team will love. 😍

Give TeamGantt a free try today!

project management tasks and milestones

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How to set and achieve project milestones in 2022

Jenny Thai contributor headshot

Not all project plans are created equal, however. Let’s say you’re working on your latest plan. It has goals, tasks, task owners, and deadlines. It has dependencies and deliverables. You’re confident that it’s a work of project planning art that will carry your team to success. But did you remember to include project milestones?

If your project doesn’t have milestones, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Project milestones simplify your role as project leader because they give your team marks to aim for while also showing stakeholders your progress at a level they’re interested in. The good news is that project milestones are easy to add to any project (even those already in progress), and they provide multiple benefits.

Let’s look at what project milestones are and what they can do for you.

What is a project milestone?

Project milestones mark specific points along a project’s timeline. They are checkpoints that identify when activities or groups of activities have been completed or when a new phase or activity is launched. You can differentiate milestones from other elements of a timeline because they take no time to complete; think of them as signposts that keep things on track.

Are project milestones important?

Milestones are powerful because they demonstrate forward progress in your project plan. They help motivate and align your team by enabling everyone to view progress and  judge priorities . And they help you monitor deadlines, identify important dates, and recognize potential bottlenecks within the project. If you were to strip the tasks from your  project timeline , the milestones would still give an outline of the key steps or phases of the project.

It can be easy to confuse project milestones with other aspects of project management, so let’s review the differences.

Milestones vs. goals

Goals  are what you wish to achieve looking forward; milestones take a look back at what you’ve already done. Think of milestones as rungs on the ladder to achieving a goal.

Example: A  marketing team  working on company-wide rebranding initiative—a big project with many moving parts—might set a goal to complete the project by the end of the third quarter. They could then use milestones along the way to mark key decisions or activities as complete, such as colors selected, design templates created, launch plan approved, etc.

Milestones vs. project phases

Milestones often coincide with the start or completion of project phases (such as initiation, planning, execution, and closure). A project phase may take weeks or months to complete, involving multiple tasks and team members; a milestone is a zero-time “checkmark” of major progress that is important to acknowledge and report on.

Example: For a rebranding project, the initiation phase will cover many tasks, such as focus groups to gather ideas on the new branding and creative brainstorming sessions. A milestone at the end of the initiation phase would mark the team’s readiness to move to the planning phase.

Milestones vs. project deliverables

A  project deliverable  is a product or result, whereas a milestone is a moment in time. Deliverables are sometimes evidence of the completion of a milestone.

Example: Deliverables for the rebranding project could include the updated style guide PDF and associated logo files. The completion of these projects is worth noting (and even celebrating!), so the marketing manager could add a milestone denoting that achievement.

Milestones vs. tasks

Tasks are the building blocks of your project, and they take time to achieve. Milestones have no duration and are more like lines in the sand that mark a group of tasks as complete.

Example: A rebranding project will have many smaller and larger tasks, such as creating logos, setting up social media accounts, and writing press releases . A milestone might mark the completion of a group of related tasks.

Connecting project milestones to your project plans

Project milestones can be added to any type of project plan to help it run smoothly. They can be particularly helpful when it comes to scheduling because milestones will need to be placed alongside the relevant tasks or phases; setting up milestones helps you concentrate on target dates and adjust the project plan as needed.

You can also have fun with milestones! For example, plan celebrations for when major project milestones are checked off. This type of acknowledgment  boosts morale  and improves engagement.

You can add milestones to a project at any stage, so don’t wait for your next project kickoff to get started. Also, if you have recurring projects, work milestones into your  templates  now so that you have them in place for the future.

How to create project milestone schedules

Think of your project milestones as moments in time—rather than  objectives , deliverables, or tasks. As such, you should create milestones to represent important checkpoints in your project. Take a look at your project schedule, and pinpoint any checkpoints or important moments. For example, if you’re planning a  product launch , you’d likely create milestones to represent finalizing the launch messaging, launching your product web page, and actually launching the product. 

FAQ: How many milestones should a project have?

There’s no set number of milestones your project should have. Some projects will only have two or three milestones—others might have closer to a dozen. Instead of trying to hit a certain number of milestones, set milestones for important events that are happening during your project’s progress. Remember: milestones should be moments in time—the tasks it takes to hit those milestones should be represented elsewhere in your project.

Setting project milestone deadlines

Because milestones are moments in time and don’t track the processes you need to get to that moment, you should set your milestone deadlines for when the initiative is launched or goes live. For example, if you’re planning a virtual event, your milestone should be set for the day the virtual event takes place—not the prep work it takes to get there. Milestones denote important moments in your project progress, and help you gauge whether or not your project was successful. 

Project milestones examples

A project milestone marks a significant point in time. You can use  milestones in your projects  to represent events such as key deliverables received, project kickoff completed, final plan approved, requirements gathering , design approved, project phase completed, and much more.

Let’s walk through four examples of how milestones can work for your team.

Mark critical tasks. Tasks that must be completed at a specific time or the project will be blocked, such as a creative concept approval for a marketing campaign.

Highlight the end of a phase or stage. The end of a phase or stage of a major piece of work, like gathering budget requests from every department for company planning.

Spotlight a major event or deliverable. A major event or deliverable, such as finishing the build out of a new office your company is opening so you can begin moving people into it.

Focus on hitting goals and key results. Project goals and key results (KRs), such as hitting your three-month revenue target for a product that was recently launched.

Project milestones reporting

Setting milestones is a good start, but you won’t reap the full benefit until you track and report on them. Milestones are great reporting tools for communicating with stakeholders who don’t want or need task-level updates. This “broad stroke” data helps you instantly see which phases have been completed, if the project is on track to hit its future key milestones, and how close you are to your goal. 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 roadblocks that might have been in the way.

Tracking milestones lets you home in on your most important work and see the true status of projects, while giving you the knowledge to share  project progress confidently. Make sure your project management tool includes  status updates that report on milestones, so you can keep team members and stakeholders in the loop about what your team has accomplished and what milestone you’re working towards next.

Pro tip: what to do when you don’t hit your milestone goals

Sometimes, your team will miss your milestone deadline. That happens—but depending on the importance of your milestone, doing so can really set you back and delay your initiative or launch. 

If you don’t hit your milestone goals, take a step back with your team to figure out why you missed the milestone. Was your milestone incorrectly scheduled, or too ambitious? Look at the tasks and deliverables that were contributing to your milestone. Was one of them delayed? Oftentimes, with so many moving pieces, it’s hard to know exactly what’s happening when. To prevent these types of mistakes in the future, look for a project management tool that has a visual component, so you can see your projects in different ways like timelines, calendars, and Kanban boards.

Common project milestone pitfalls

Setting milestones is an art, not a science. There’s no exact right or wrong way to do it. That being said, these are some of the common pitfalls that teams encounter when they first start setting milestones: 

Setting too many milestones. The number of milestones you need will depend on the size and scope of your initiative. Avoid aiming to set a certain number of milestones “just because.” Instead, pay attention to the key tasks your team needs to accomplish in order for your project to progress.

Using milestones as tasks. Milestones should represent a moment in time. To track the work you need to do to get there, use tasks instead. Then, use milestones to represent when a group of tasks should be completed.

Keeping your milestones separate from other work. The best way to hit your deadlines and run a successful project is to manage all of your work in one place. Make sure your  project management tool  allows you to manage tasks, set milestones, and visualize your project progress in one place.

Set milestones for better project schedules

Now you know what project milestones are and how they can positively impact the planning, execution, and reporting of your projects. Consider them another tool in your project management belt—one you’re sure to get a lot of use out of. Once you start planning with milestones, you’ll never want to build a project plan without them.

Are you ready to get started planning with project milestones? You’ll need the right work management tool first. Check out  Asana , a leader in the market and the best work management tool for your team.

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What is a Project Milestone? 5 Project Milestones Examples & Tips

Erica Chappell

Managing Editor

July 25, 2022

Max 8min read

Looking for a project milestone example ?

Milestones function as checkpoints on your project timeline. They help you easily identify which stage your project is currently in and how far you are from completion.

Project milestones let you know that you’re on the right track and can answer the one question that both kids and clients have in common: “Are we there yet?”

But what do milestones in project management actually look like? 

And what counts as a project milestone?

In this article, we’ll discuss what a milestone is, how you can identify project milestones, and what a real project milestones example looks like. Finally, we’ll also reveal a secret to mapping your milestones efficiently.

What is a Milestone in a Project?

Project Milestone Examples

What Are Some Common Project Milestone Misconceptions?

ClickUp Milestones Dashboard View CTA

Milestones are checkpoints that highlight the successful completion of major events, tasks, or groups of tasks along your project timeline.

Project milestone checkpoints? 

Your team reaches a milestone when you accomplish something notable, such as:

Why are project milestones important?  

Here are a few more things your team can do with milestones in project management:

The last point comes in handy when you need to answer your stakeholder’s favorite question…

Are you done yet?

How Do You Identify Milestones In A Project ?

A project milestone is usually an important event that occurs during a project’s life cycle.

Here are a few common project milestone examples :

Does any significant event count as a project management milestone ?

Only events related to your project count as a key milestone .

Celebrating with a beer with your team after completing the project is an important event . Unfortunately, it isn’t a project management milestone, as it isn’t part of your project timeline. 

What Are Project Milestones Examples ?

Now that you now know what a project management milestone is, let’s take a look at the events that are usually considered project milestones:

Five project milestone examples:

Let’s take a closer look at each project milestone example : 

1: Project approval

This is usually the first key milestone in a project’s life cycle. 

Once the project charter is approved by an important project stakeholder or senior management, it serves as a green light for the project team to begin their work.

Use this project request template from ClickUp to start your project approval process.

Project request template

2: Requirements review

For this major milestone, you need to closely go over a project plan with your new clients and determine what the project is going to need.

Once you get all this approved, you actually begin work on the project.

3: Design approval

You’ve now finalized all the project requirements. Good job.

However, it’s now time to draw up the project design and present it to the client or stakeholder.

Unfortunately, chances are that they’ll give you tons of feedback and utter these three terrifying words…

And when they finally do like it and approve it ( after a million tries!) , you’ve reached another major milestone .

Tip: If you want to adapt and integrate feedback smoothly, why not give Agile a shot?

4: Project phase milestones

Your project is now on the way and your team is working on building and implementing the designed solution…this is no easy feat, even for those with top-notch project management skills!

However, working on a project isn’t just one long, drawn-out activity. 

A project is generally divided into multiple phases like ‘the development phase, ’ ‘the testing phase. ’

To distinguish between these phases clearly, we use milestones at the ‘start’ or ‘end’ date of each phase .

Convenient, right?

5: Final approval

Imagine this:

Your team has finished building the product, and after rigorous testing and inspection, you are finally ready.

But don’t celebrate just yet.

You still have to present it to the main stakeholders .

If the project meets the requirements, then your stakeholders give their seal of approval.

Your team can raise a toast to the project completion ; you’ve reached the final milestone!

What’s The Best Way To Create A Project Milestone ?

Now you have a clear idea of what typical benchmarks are.

But how do you create and use milestones in your project?

Step 1: Create a project goal

Your project needs to have a goal.

Obviously, you can’t work without a project objective .

It’s like boarding a plane without knowing where it’s headed. 

You don’t know where you’ll end up!

A project objective shows you how you’ll be able to accomplish the goal.

However, goal setting is the easy part, t he hard part is implementing it.

Fortunately, with ClickUp, you can do anything! From software project management and digital marketing to creating a personal goal, ClickUp is an all-in-one solution for teams of all types and sizes!

What’s ClickUp?

ClickUp devices on Alexa, laptop, and iPad

ClickUp is the world’s highest-rated project management software  that’s powerful enough to cater to all your project needs. For example, with ClickUp’s Goals , you can break down large project goals into smaller T argets . 

More you can do with ClickUp Goals:

goals in ClickUp

Step 2: Structure your project into tasks and subtasks

Brush up on the most recent developments in project management, then plan and structure the project to prevent things from getting off-track. 

The best project management method is splitting your entire project into tasks and subtasks. This makes things easy and efficient to use.

However, splitting a large project into dozens of tasks and keeping it well-organized might feel like a pain!

ClickUp lets you split any huge project into smaller tasks and subtasks. Each task also has a built-in project status bar so that the task owner can track the project 24/7.

ClickUp also lets you add Checklists to these tasks and subtasks. A project management checklist is perfect for simple to-do lists for mapping small tasks like quality-check items. This way, your team can check them off as they progress .

Step 3: Assigning the milestones

Now that your project has a clear structure, we can finally move on to the best part: project planning .

You’ll first need to arrange your tasks and group them according to different project phases. Next: milestone planning . 

What to do:

Identify the tasks that we mentioned in the milestone example section!

Now, assign milestones to them.

Sounds simple, but how do you keep the milestone list organized and neat?

Just use ClickUp’s Milestones tracking feature! 

With ClickUp, you can add a major milestone to a task with just two clicks.

Whenever you schedule a milestone to a task, the task name appears in bold. It’s even marked by an icon in the List view or Calendar view . Also be sure to consider using a project management calendar for maximum efficiency.

Step 4: Using Gantt Chart To Clearly Map The Milestones

Now your milestones are ready, let’s start mapping them.

But when we say mapping, do we mean using a milestone char t or a timeline template ?

Neither. All of these are kinda obsolete in 2021.

What you need is a Gantt chart .

A Gantt chart is a method in which to create a visualization of your entire project timeline . 

It lets you visualize useful parameters like the:

Additionally, they map out every critical milestone and minor milestone . This way, it becomes very easy to visualize your project milestone list .

However, some Gantt charts look like something out of a sci-fi movie, right?

We don’t blame you. In fact, most Gantt charts are needlessly complicated.

That’s why you’ll be star-struck (get it?) when you try ClickUp’s Gantt view that’s super-fun to use. 

Not only that, but they also have a few powerful features too.

Here’s what they can do automatically:

Your milestones are added to your Gantt chart automatically.

Here’s what the Gantt chart milestone looks like:

gantt milestones

It doesn’t get any easier than this!

Wait, these aren’t all of ClickUp’s features.

Here are a few more ClickUp features that can boost your team’s productivity:

Hold on a second…milestones sound a lot like project goals and project deliverables .

Unfortunately, they’re not the same thing.

The last thing you’d want to do is to confuse milestones and project goals in front of the stakeholders!

Don’t worry. We have a list of common misconceptions about project milestones to help you out:

1. What’s the difference between a milestone and a goal?

A goal refers to the future, and a milestone refers to the past. 

Goals are objectives that you aim to achieve in the next few days or months.

Milestones are all the important things that you’ve already achieved.

2. Difference between a milestone and a task

Tasks are actionable items that usually have a time estimate allotted to them. 

For example, Homer’s task would be to ‘Eat100 donuts in 24 hours’ 

(We’re pretty sure he’ll be able to ace this task in just a few minutes, though.)

Meanwhile, milestones have no time estimate attached to them. 

They’re simply points on the project timeline ( project schedule ) that signify that a project task has been completed.

3. Difference between a milestone and a deliverable

A deliverable is a quantifiable result, such as a product or service.

However, a key milestone is an important moment in the project’s lifecycle.

Sometimes, completed milestones results in project deliverables , but that’s not always the case. For example, completing the first version of your app is a deliverabl e and a milestone. However, getting stakeholder approval isn’t necessarily a deliverable , even though it’s a milestone.

Always remember that milestones are key events that define your project success .

They not only help you track project progress  but also serve as checkpoints, keeping you focused on your overall goals. 

However, to make the most out of your milestones, you need to ensure that your project is organized and structured well.

And speaking of structure, ClickUp helps you plan and organize your work with ease!

But that’s not all.

Besides mapping milestones, ClickUp takes care of all your project needs like project planning, creating a work breakdown structure , project tracking, and a whole lot more. 

So sign up for free with ClickUp today, and speed past your project milestones in no time.

Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.

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14 Project Milestones Examples

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The arsenal of project management tools looks incomplete without milestones. This vital tool helps project teams to identify what must be done to achieve their goals and boost their productivity. 

Having project milestones examples at hand stimulates the right synergy among your team and ensures the desired project outcomes.

Below you’ll find the examples of milestones in project management that will help you better understand their roles and destination in many industries and areas. But first, let’s briefly review some theoretical basics.

What is a milestone in a project?

A milestone is a specific point of progress as you move along your project timeline. This checkpoint highlights the successful completion of major tasks and events within your project.

Milestones are not events, as many define them. The Project Management Institute (PMI) notes that they should describe what you want to achieve and when you get there. However, many people avoid this level of precision. When they define milestones as events, their attention diverts from what the project is supposed to deliver.

Why project milestones?

Project teams strive to hit milestones to finish work on time and reach the rest of the goals. They use them to divide a timeline into stages to signify the overall progress. 

These checkpoints are typically defined during the planning phase. They help to break down the project into manageable sections and systematize everything so that the team can feel less overwhelmed or stressed.

They are also helpful when you care about creating a project plan from the ground up. They allow for a clear schedule that includes all significant events to expect along the way.

Milestones help to spot potential bottlenecks. When the deadlines are not being hit, managers can define why and what blockers the team may be experiencing that are holding up the entire process. 

Since the use of any concepts and tools is better understood through practical cases, we recommend you delve deeper into the most widely used milestones project management examples.

14 examples of milestones in project management

There are different milestones for various projects and industries, from construction to the IT sector.

Among the most used construction PM milestones examples, we can define:

If you are looking for the software development milestones examples, you will indeed find the cases related to:

Besides, project teams set these checkpoints in such industries as:

No matter how big or small your project is, here are some major project milestones examples that you can set as a way to keep your team on track.

We’ll divide them into the following groups:

Early-stage milestones

1. project approval.

Project approval is typically the first key checkpoint in a project’s life cycle. 

When you have approval from the senior management and stakeholders, you get a “green light” to begin your work. Here’s how it can be visualized in GanttPRO online Gantt chart maker :

Project approval milestone example

2. Planning 

A project plan includes all critical details, from key goals to schedules. They can have regular adjustments. However, it is crucial to implement them to let all team members understand how to reach their final objectives.

Project planning milestone example

When teams start any project, they have to make sure that enough funding is available to carry out all required tasks. Besides, it is crucial to compensate all team members for their work. 

You should also secure enough funding to provide for unexpected changes that can incur costs.

Funding milestone example

4. Design approval

Before designing processes, customers usually want to be aware of the expectations for the projected revisions and hours they will take. 

They will feel more confident if they understand what is being done and why it is so. When you involve stakeholders, you can get feedback easily and reach the approval milestone much more quickly.

Design approval milestone example

5. Hiring individual positions

Another essential milestone example is hiring people for critical roles. 

Searching for the new talents for your business is a significant step that leads to the new project phases. During the hiring proсess, you will need to identify the staffing needs, ask appropriate interview questions, and set milestones for each opening.

Hiring indnvidual positions milestone example

6. Training

This example involves activities to prepare team members for the project better. For example, knowledge transfer to the operations team. 

You can hold training activities by your in-house team or outsource if specialized knowledge is required.

Training milestone example

7. Vendor contracts

Many projects in various industries require external vendors. It prompts managers to research and analyze the market to find the best fit. 

When the needs are identified, they send proposal requests to multiple vendors where the executive summary, requirements, and proof of concept are listed. As responses are received, milestones can be marked off for every vendor spot.

Vendor contracts milestone example

Mid-project milestones

8. project requirements review.

Before the project is approved, your team should consider such a checkpoint as reviewing the project requirements. For this milestone, you have to closely go over the plan with your customers and consider things like:

When all these details are defined, your team will have a better idea of what to expect along the way.

Requirements review milestone example

9. Completing critical tasks

Sometimes teams set milestones for themselves to focus on critical tasks that need to be completed.

Do not forget that tasks or action items are the building blocks of your project. Some of them will take longer to complete than others. Therefore, they differ from milestones, as these checkpoints do not have a duration assigned to them, and they group particular tasks.

Completing critical tasks milestone example

10. Reaching KPIs

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators. They represent measurable goals that help to track the overall performance of projects. 

As an example, KPIs can include actual costs, ROI (return on investment), resource utilization, and so on. These metrics must be actionable and straightforward and allow measuring success.

Reaching KPIs milestone example

11. Receiving feedback from stakeholders

Making sure that your key stakeholders have enough time to share their feedback is also one of the actual examples of checkpoints.

Whether it is an executive or a customer, it’s critical to consider all their feedback. Perhaps you will have to alter your milestones to ensure the project moves forward (whether negative or positive feedback).

Stakeholders feedback milestone example

Final stages milestones

12. testing stages.

Many projects in engineering or construction fields need to go through testing and evaluation stages.

These stages include checking all systems, such as IT, electrical, and security. You can set a single milestone with multiple tasks for each test, or choose key points to separate the process for all individual systems.

Testing milestone example

13. Defects fixing

You can find numerous issues during testing. New milestones can be scheduled to make adjustments or repair possible defects. 

Defects may relate to the design, materials, or quality. There are also latent defects that can not be discovered until years after the project’s completion.

Defects fixing milestone example

14. Final approval

When your team has finished creating the product and tested it, everything seems to be ready. However, do not rush to celebrate.

It would be better to care about how to present the project to the key stakeholders. If it meets all the requirements, then your stakeholders will approve it.

Final approval milestone example

Examples of project milestones and deliverables

Make sure you don’t confuse the key milestone and deliverable examples. These are different concepts, although, in a particular context, they may overlap.

What is the difference between PM milestones and deliverables examples? 

A team develops a deliverable in alignment with the project goals. It is a measurable and tangible outcome. 

As you remember, a milestone is a checkpoint throughout the project’s life that identifies when one or many activities have been completed, thus implying that a significant point in the project has been reached.

A deliverable is a quantifiable result, such as a product or service. A milestone is a crucial moment in the project’s lifecycle.

Milestones vs. deliverables in projects

Sometimes, completed checkpoints can result in deliverables. However, that is not always the case. 

For example, completing the first version of your blog is a deliverable and a milestone. However, the key stakeholders’ approval isn’t necessarily a deliverable, even though it’s a milestone.

How to create milestones in GanttPRO

Now you know many examples of PM milestones, so the only thing you miss is a proper online management tool.

project management tasks and milestones

Gantt chart project management software

Use the power of Gantt chart milestones to cater to all your project needs.

GanttPRO will help you to work with milestones and go through some initial steps while creating your project. Here’re these steps.

1. Determining objectives and goals

Setting objectives and goals is required for any project. Well-determined objectives will show you how you’ll accomplish the key goal. 

2. Creating a project

Sign up to start a new project in GanttPRO. Open the   Create a new project page and enter all the required fields there.

Creating a project in GanttPRO

3. Filling your project with tasks and subtasks

It’s high time to split your project into tasks and subtasks to systematize all things and make them easy to track. With the online Gantt chart maker, you’ll easily break even the massive project into smaller chunks. You’ll be able to track it 24/7 as every single task on a timeline will have a built-in project status bar. 

Click Add task/subtask on the timeline and set all needed parameters.

Add tasks in GanttPRO

4. Setting milestones

Now you can arrange all tasks and group them according to various project phases. Define the most critical tasks, the tasks that need special approval, and then highlight the checkpoints.

In GanttPRO, you can follow two ways to add milestones to your Gantt chart .

1) Click on three dots on the right of the task setting line. Select Add a sibling milestone or Add a child milestone .  

How to add a milestone?

2) Just click the button Add a milestone directly.

What is the way to set a milestone?

The tool allows naming your milestones, changing their dates, dragging them, and setting dependencies with tasks and milestones themselves.

A timeline with milestones

5. Adding dependencies to the tasks and milestones

You can also set task dependencies and milestones dependencies. Click the white circles that w ill appear and drag the dependency line to the task or the milestone you want to link it to.

Task dependencies and milestones dependencies

6. Assigning people and task s

In GanttPRO, you can invite people who are already part of your project and assign any task you want. Task settings will help you to figure this out. 

7. Exporting projects with milestones

Finally, you can export your project with all its tasks, dependencies, and milestones, using friendly GanttPRO options. Choose to export your chart to PNG, PDF, XML, or Excel.

Exporting projects with GanttPRO

Hopefully, these steps seemed clear to you. Feel free to explore many more exciting opportunities and features in GanttPRO!

Never forget that milestones are key events that determine your project’s success. They assist in tracking the progress and serve as checkpoints that keep you focused on your overall goals. 

To make the most out of these checkpoints, make sure your project is organized and structured well. Keep in mind all the examples listed above and choose a proper management tool to succeed. GanttPRO is ready to help you plan and organize your work with ease!

Paolo Kukhnavets

Paolo Kukhnavets

Paolo writes about the exciting world of project management, innovative tools, planning strategies, time management, productivity, and more. He has a professional journalism education, over ten years of writing experience, and a vast bag of enthusiasm to comprehend and learn new things every day. In his other life, he is addicted to traveling, gym, and sci-fi movies. He cycles and runs a lot.

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