June 8, 2009 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Milestones
Project Milestones and the Project Team
By João Almeida
I was recently discussing the need for milestone visibility. Strange topic to be discussing, but it happened! The conversation begun as I was making a point to allow the PM tool (in this case MS Project) to calculate the milestone date based on the tasks dependencies and how easy it was to have this information available and updated. My audience questioned why should the project team need milestones!
Better to have questioned why do we need to breath.
Milestone visibility to the project team was viewed as a side issue. The team needs to focus on the technical work and not on the management issues like budget and dates.
This out-dated view of the world is still alive.
Currently not to have any kind of process (like milestone updates) on a project so the project team can have as much time as possible to make the technical work can lead only to one outcome. Sooner or later the time spent on the correction of error/quality problems is going to increase due to errors made early on the project making the project end-date to be missed.
Imagine this, only the project end-date is set. The team starts to work and the product is released on time but with many problems due to low quality control so the end date can be reached. Because no intermediate control points where established no prediction of this situation was made.
As we all know errors are easier and cheaper to correct early on the project than later, for this reason processes as milestone control can help visualize schedule variances and make the team more accountable for their performance early on the project.
Compare the no-process approach with a team that early in the project establishes a set of milestones and control it early. The team will follow up any variances and take any corrective action so the target dates are accomplished not only the end date. In the long run, this will increase quality and project visibility to the outside stakeholders.
João Almeida is currently working for Microsoft Portugal as an Engagement Manager for the Public sector. His personal blog can be found at http://projmblog.blogspot.com/.