A milestone can be defined as an achievement that is being worked towards which will be celebrated when it is achieved. Milestones can be used as a motivational tool as it is a specific goal that usually has a timeframe. In terms of business there are a number of advantages to setting milestones for a project that is being undertaken in addition to them being used to motivate staff.
A Schedule Is Created
When milestones are set for a project, it creates a schedule for when key points of the project will be completed. This will ensure that everyone knows when the deadlines are for different aspects of the project. If it begins to appear that the milestone will not be reached, action can be taken to get the project back on schedule which can help keep future milestones on track.
Success Can Be Celebrated
When a milestone is reached this should be celebrated with all members of the team. This presents an opportunity to acknowledge members of the team who have gone above what is expected of them in order to ensure that the milestone has been reached. The success of the team as a whole to reach the milestone can also be acknowledged. When employees receive this type of feedback it helps to keep them motivated which on turn will make them more productive.
The Project Can Be Evaluated
Setting milestones means that the project can be evaluated as it goes along. When each milestone is reached the project manager will be able to assess which aspects of the project worked well and where things could be improved. This information can be used to inform the planning for the rest of the project and help to decide whether the project is on track to meet the next milestone or whether it needs to be moved forward or back.
Milestones do not need to be set in stone and in some cases the more flexible they are the better as they can adapt with the project. When considering the benefits above it is clear that they can help the project move forward.