How to Create Milestones in Your Project Using MS Project

planning-and-scheduling-with-microsoft-project-2010All of us have our own personal milestones that we want to achieve like owning a home or investment property or starting up a business.  A milestone refers to a different type of achievement in project management however.

A milestone is placed at the end of a particular phase in a project to signify that the said phase/project has been completed successfully.

In the project management framework, it is the only event that receives special attention due to its nature. Another purpose of a milestone, as regards project management, is to indicate an important decision that needs to be taken immediately before the end of a work phase or a project. Thus, with this, a milestone can be considered to show both the distance traveled and the direction of the travel.

How, then, does a project manager or specialist add a milestone event in his or her project plan? The following section lays out the steps in successfully making a milestone event using Microsoft Project 2010.

Creating a Milestone

Upon opening your Microsoft Project, you will find the different tabs in the menu bar, which is found at the topmost part of the Microsoft Project interface. Once you have successfully located this, do the following steps in order to end up with a milestone:

  • Choose the Gantt Chart found on the Task Views group in the View tab.
  • Enter the desired name for you milestone on the first empty row in the Task Name field.
  • Type “0” (zero) in the field that is labelled as “Duration”.
  • Once you are done, press the “Enter” key.

A milestone usually does not have any duration (or 0 duration). However, if you wish to add a duration to the milestone your are putting, another set of steps can be followed in order to end up with it.

Creating a Milestone with Duration

Follow the first two bullets/steps outlined above and then do the following steps:

  • Go to Task Information found at the Properties group of the Task tab.
  • Click on the Advanced button on the Task Information. You will find the Duration field here.
  • Input your desired Duration for the particular milestone.
  • Check the Mark task as milestone
  • Click “OK”.

However, do take note that when you are changing a task into a milestone, you may not need to go through adding a name in the Task Field (both for “with” and “without” duration) as the task is considered to be the label for the milestone.

Project managers have to remember that although milestones can be effective in monitoring the progress of your projects, there are still limits to its effectiveness as they show only the progress in the critical areas.

Adding a project milestone is particularly easy once you follow the outlined steps above. However, if you are using other project management software, a different set of instructions may be given in order for you to come up with the milestone.

Eastwood Harris produces project management training materials and online training courses on Primavera P6, MS Project and PMBOK.

5 Tips for Using MS Project 2010

99 Tips and traps for microsoft project - ebookMicrosoft project is everything a project manager needs to develop a plan, resources and tasks assignment, progress updates, budget management, and manage overall workloads.

Microsoft has been known as the giant company when it comes to office applications, and Microsoft Project is one of its most used products since it has features that make planning and implementing a project easy to handle.

This article will help you understand the pros and cons of Microsoft Project, before you go out and buy the product.

Microsoft designed MS Project as an easily adaptable program, but take note of these tips first before you forge ahead:

1. Take note of the prerequisites To get started on MS project, you need a name. Keep it as straightforward as possible, and avoid overly intricate wordplay. Next two things you need are a.) start date and b.) end date. Also, you might need to highlight information about your client i.e name, background and location.

2. Make use of the shortcuts For everyone familiar with Microsoft, well, software keystrokes and commands are a necessity for everyday use. MS Project utilizes the ALT Key and certain keystrokes for those folks who prefer to use a keyboard instead of a mouse.

3. Filters, filters, filters. This isn’t an Instagram thing, just in case that’s what you had in mind. Filters display tasks for particular scenarios that a manager might find handy. These help him/her delve into the task at hand, and hopefully understand the task more. Most filters are built-in, or simply came with the software. But managers also have the ability to customize them by simply downloading them from Microsoft.

4. Progress is key in every Project, a project manager has the capability to track and monitor different activities’ progress at a keystroke. These are simply outlines tagged to let you know where you are project-wise. Named accordingly, they are: A.) Not Started

B.) In-progress

C.) Complete.

5. Costs are everything. A budget is worth taking note of The Fixed Cost Function is Microsoft’s golden lining. Making everything easier and more practical by giving the manager the ability to simply assign costs to tasks, and illustrate them with the Resource Graph function.

These five tips would help you realize if Microsoft Project is really the right tool for you and for your company to use when it comes to project management.

Because at the end of the day, it is still how applications help you do your job faster and more efficiently that really counts.