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Lesson 5 - Assign Milestones and Finalize Plan

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Step-by-Step Project Planning with MS-Project

Previous Article in this Series
Lesson 4 - Level Resources

It is important to mark certain tasks as milestones to be able to track progress with regards to the deliverables of the project and/or important stages completed.

Technically, a milestone is a separate task with a duration of 0 days. This is a good way of doing it as the Gantt chart shows the milestone as a single spot, and having a task or a phase covering many days as milestone would get displayed by a spot instead of a bar covering those days. But this is a technicality.

You can have the final task in a phase as a milestone or a whole phase as a milestone as long as it doesn’t impact the readability of the charts and the message they get across.

  1. Plan the milestones for the project. Then, in the Gantt chart view, double-click on each row that you want to mark as milestone to open a window as shown in Figure 15. Click the checkbox to mark the task as a milestone as shown in the figure, and click OK.
  2. Marking a Task as Milestone

    Figure 15: Marking a Task as Milestone
  3. Save the plan as a baseline for tracking as the project progresses. This is done by clicking “Set Baseline” under “Tracking” submenu under the “Tools” menu. Save the plan as baseline or any number of interim plans as interim snapshots, in the resulting window as shown in Figure 16.
  4. Setting a baseline plan

    Figure 16: Setting a Baseline Plan
  5. Highlight the entire project plan by clicking on the topmost left cell as shown in Figure 13 in the previous article (the figure is reproduced below).
  6. Highlighting all cells of the project plan

    Figure 13: Highlighting all cells of the project plan
  7. Select “Bar” under the “Format” menu to customize the information displayed on the bars in the Gantt chart in the right pane.
  8. Click on the “Bar Text” tab and select the metrics you wish displayed on the bars as shown in Figure 17. This is not a compulsory step but aids in quickly viewing progress details depending on the parameters selected.
  9. Formatting Gantt Chart Bars

    Figure 17: Formatting Gantt Chart Bars

The project plan is now ready. But this is only the beginning. It must be regularly tracked and reported to concerned stakeholders. The next step is to track project progress.

Next Article in this Series
Lesson 6 - Track Project Progress


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