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What are Project Milestones?

Projects are initiatives that are executed to achieve a particular goal. A project may or may not have a series of tasks beneath them in order to complete the project. Projects in Ally.io help you manage goals and execution in one place, so it’s a lot easier for teams to stay focused on the big picture, and identify bottlenecks proactively.

Projects can range from small and simple ones to large and complex projects. To ensure your team is heading in the right direction, it is important to add waypoints throughout the course of your project. These waypoints provide a high-level picture of how your project is progressing without having to get into the granular details. Such waypoints that help you break your work down are called Project Milestones in Ally.io.

Why Milestones?

Large, complex projects may seem daunting and overwhelming. You need to add structure to your projects by breaking them down in a meaningful way. Milestones help teams focus on the key steps that help get work done faster and more effectively. When you have added milestones to your project, your weekly project reviews become a lot more effective as you can easily check if teams have hit the key milestones and focus on the hotspots to ensure you hit the target.

While reviewing the project progress, stakeholders are not interested in granular, detailed progress of the project. They want to see the big picture that indicates whether or not the project is moving as scheduled. Milestones can come to your rescue when you do not want to focus on the minutiae of each task to the extent that you lose perspective. Milestones is one level above your projects that shows stakeholders the project progress at a level they are interested in. This way, the leadership team can quickly identify key initiatives that require their attention.

How to add Milestones?

Milestones can be added for your projects. To know more about how to break down your objective or key result, read our article on custom targets.

  • While creating or editing a project, navigate to the Outcome section > click on Show more options.

  • Here, you will have two options — either to add milestones or to add tasks.

    Note: Ensure tasks has been enabled for your organization to be able to see the Add tasks option. In case you do not see this option, and want to add tasks, please reach out to our Support team, or drop a mail to your Customer Success Manager.


  • Click on Add milestones. There are two ways to add milestones — add your own milestones or use a template from our library. We provide you out-of-box templates that will help you in getting started with milestones.

  • To add one of our templates, select Start from a template > from the list of available templates, choose one and click on Add.

    • The milestones will be populated automatically. Dates will be allotted based on the start and end dates of the project, while the project owner will become the milestone owner by default.

    • To customize this template, you can go ahead and change the milestone labels, dates, and owner.

    • Click on the three-dot icon next to Milestones to edit the settings — either remove all the milestones from the list or change the template if you want to choose another one from the template library. The third setting you can configure from this dropdown menu is the ability to add contributions.

    • Upon selecting the Show contributions option, the Contributions column will appear and you may now determine how much each milestone contributes to the project’s progress.

  • If you are adding milestones from the ground up, select Start from scratch > provide a name, target date, and owner for the milestone. Continue adding as many milestones as you want by clicking on the Add another milestone option.

    • Click on the three-dot icon next to Milestones to edit the settings — either remove all the milestones from the list or choose a template from the template library. The third option is for managing contributions which is explained in the previous point.

      Note: If you have an existing template in your organization and would like to use that while adding milestones in Ally.io, please contact our Support team and provide your template. We will populate it for you within Ally.io.

  • Once you are done adding the milestones, click on the Save button.

In-app and Slack notifications

  1. The check-in reminder cadence for milestones will be the same as that of your projects and OKRs. These reminders will be sent to the milestone owners via Slack and as an in-app notification.

  2. As and when a user gets assigned as the owner for a milestone, a Slack message and an in-app notification will be immediately sent to the milestone owner notifying them of the assignment.

Milestones vs Tasks

The what:

Milestones

Tasks

  • Signposts throughout the course of your project

  • Break down of the project into phases

  • Specific point in time that measures how far you have come in a project

  • Focus is on the major progress points in a project

  • Individual actions executed to complete the project

  • Break down of the project into smaller components

  • Has a definite outcome associated with it that helps in achieving the project

  • Focus is on the minutiae of each task within a project

The why:

  • To review the overall project status without getting bogged down by the granular details

  • To monitor deadlines and identify bottlenecks to ensure the project is on track

  • Building blocks of a project that help you track and organize your work

  • To gain a better understanding of what needs to be done, by when to complete the project

Is it a task or a milestone?

A task list can be associated with a milestone. The progress of this milestone can be tracked as you complete tasks in the associated task list.

Interconnect the tasks and associate it with the project goals - ladder them up to a milestone. This way, teams can see the concrete steps that need to be completed to achieve goals (milestones), which will move the project forward.

Tasks help you break the project into small, digestible components. Milestones help you understand how much of the journey you have crossed, and how much is left.

Milestones are more a period in time than completion of tasks. You can have milestones that don’t necessarily relate to project phases. They can indicate a big task, important event or deliverable as well.

To better understand what a milestone is, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this an initiative or a deliverable?

  • Is this a significant moment in the project that connects with the path forward?

  • Does this need to be reviewed by multiple stakeholders of the project?

  • Does this have a high impact on the project?

If you have answered yes to the above questions, then it is a milestone. Otherwise, it is a task.

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