Milestones are governed by ‘deliverables’.
Deliverables provide the evidence that would indicate successful completion of a milestone.
The exact nature of the milestone and the deliverables must be defined accurately, clearly and unambiguously.
It is possible that all the deliverables are present but did they arrive on time and at the right cost?
It’s not enough to just consider the deliverable itself.
Are the costs to date as expected?
Is the project still on schedule?
Milestones must be agreed, documented and recorded.
This will involve all the interested parties of the project management team with final ratification of the Project Board.
Milestones should be designed on the basis of ‘only promising what you know you can deliver’.
All deliverables (products) must be identified for all activities or work packages.
However, when it comes to a milestone the total number of products could be hundreds or thousands.
It would be impractical at a milestone to list all of these.
Naturally, these would have been ‘checked off’ and approved as part of the completion of a higher level task containing many work packages.
This would be a consequence of good control procedures.
The exact deliverables for the milestone will be reduced in number but they should still be:
Clearly the number of milestones will depend upon the nature of the project.
A large project may require milestones every few months (or just at stage boundaries), whereas a 2 month project may need weekly milestones.
There may be natural breaks in the project leading to milestones.
The decision on the number of milestones will aid in project control.
A project that is ‘getting away’ from the Project Manager may indicate that more milestones are required.
A deliverable can be any agreed tangible item that will define the completion of a phase of work and presented at a milestone.
These may be:
Where a prototype is used make sure that you do not mistake it for the finished product.
Once it has served its purpose remove it to reduce any confusion.
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