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Identify and Describe MILESTONES and CONTROL POINTS

Contents

What are Milestones and how are they used?
What are Control Points and how are they used?
Example

 

 

 

 


What are Milestones and how are they used?

A Milestone is the achievement of a significant step in the project, usually the completion or acceptance of an important deliverable. Milestones can be set at the project level and throughout the project. The resources taken to achieve a particular milestone, whilst of interest to the project manager, is not the focus here. It is the ability to state that an important position has been achieved, regardless of what it has taken to achieve it.

Milestones are generally indicative of the project having reached a status that is readily recognisable. This may be based on either a key Management Stage having been started or completed, or significant progress having been made with the project work. A Milestone should be clearly indicated in the project schedule, even though it is not technically an item of work.

Examples of Milestones are:

Management Milestones The Project Objectives have been agreed
The Project Plan has been developed, published and agreed
Project review completed
Project Work Milestone New equipment received & ready for use
Foundations of new building completed
New production process ready for testing
Product development complete


What are Control Points and how are they used?

A control point is a formal point in the project schedule when the Project Sponsor and management are asked to make significant decisions over the future direction of the project. Control points are normally key review points such as an end of Project Work phase (e.g. end of Design) or a major management review (e.g. following production of a Risk Plan).

Control points should not be confused with the routine project monitoring of progress that occurs on a regular basis of (say) every 2 or 4 weeks and results in the production of a routine progress report.

Examples of Control Points are:

Risk Analysis completed - What to do next decision required
Start the Project Stage Completed - Decision required to plan the project
Project Schedule and Budget Developed - Financial approval decision required
Project Close Stage Completed - What to do next decision required - any follow-on actions necessary


Example

An example of a draft project schedule before milestones and control points have been added.

Equipment Modification Project - Draft Schedule

Milestones and Control Points omitted...

Stage Activity Day1/3 Day4 Day5/6 Day7 Day8 Day n Day n Day n Day n Day n Day n Day78 Day79 Day80 Day81
Start the Project Document the Idea x
Register the Project x
Analyse the Benefits x
   
Plan the Project Define the Scope x
Define the Work and Resources x
Develop the Schedule and Costs x
Analyse the Risks x
   
Implement the Plan Execute the Plan x
Organise the Team x
 
Control the Project Monitor Progress x x x x x x x x x
  Do phase 1 x x
Do phase 2 x x
Do phase 3 x x
Do phase 4 x x x
Do phase 5 x x x
Control Changes x x x x x x x x x
                                 
Close the Project Close the Project x x

 

Equipment Modification Project - Draft with suggested Milestones and Control Points

Note that the schedule needs all the management decision points, milestones and resources to be added before it is complete.

Stage Activity Day1/3 Day4 Day5/6 Day7 Day8 Day n Day n Day n Day n Day n Day n Day78 Day79 Day80 Day81
Start the Project Document the Idea x
Register the Project x
Analyse the Benefits x
Control Point Decide if benefits are adequate   CP                          
Milestone Start the Project Stage Completed                            
   
Plan the Project Define the Scope x
Define the Work and Resources x
Develop the Schedule and Costs x
Analyse the Risks x
Control Point Decide if project proceeds           CP                  
Milestone Planning Completed - Ready to kick off the work                            
   
Implement the Plan Execute the Plan x
Organise the Team x
 
Control the Project Monitor Progress x x x x x x x x x
Do phase 1 x x
Do phase 2 x x
Do phase 3 x x
Do phase 4 x x x
Milestone Phase 4 of the Project Work completed - ready to implement                            
Do phase 5   x x
Control Changes x x x x x x x x x
                                 
Close the Project Close the Project x x