Milestones are applicable to any business as well as your clients. They can even be applied to your personal life, but we’d guess that there might be an argument on who the project manager is! A practical way to manage and adhere to these business milestones is by creating a project plan. A successful project plan is simple, straightforward and should be tied to your business plan.
“Life is like a grindstone whether it grinds us down or polishes us, depends on what you’re made of.”—Jacob M. Braude
Starting Your Project Plan
The components should include concrete terms, budgets, deadlines, and management responsibilities. Tasks associated with the plan should also be integrated into your project management platform – to ensure that the tasks are being completed and that people are accountable for the plan. We recommend that you assign a project manager to oversee the plan. This can be a good training step for an emerging leader within your organization. Or, assign a team leader to schedule meetings regularly (bi-monthly or monthly) whereby each responsible party presents a progress report. There are also milestone tracking apps that can be integrated into your project management platform.
Here is a link to five project milestone tracking apps: https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-apps-for-tracking-project-milestones/.
Choosing Your Business Milestones
It’s a good idea to incorporate some bite into your plan and management by listing specific actions to be taken. Each action becomes a milestone. This is where a business plan becomes a real plan, with specific and measurable activities, instead of just a document.
A go-no-go back up plan should also be a consideration as well and be incorporated into key decision points. Let’s say your plan includes adding a new location and you are unable to do that from a financial perspective, bear in mind not all milestones are realistic.
In a recent study that featured companies “reasons for success” (see the Startup Genome report). They found 14 indicators that may resonate with you, and that tie back to the rationale behind creating and monitoring milestones:
- Founders are driven by impact, resulting in passion and commitment
- Commitment to stay the course and stick with a chosen path
- Willingness to adjust, but not constantly adjusting
- Patience and persistence due to the timing mismatch of expectations and reality
- Willingness to observe, listen and learn
- Develop the right mentoring relationships
- Leadership with general and domain-specific business knowledge
- Implementing “Lean Startup” principles: Raising just enough money in a funding round to hit the next set of key milestones
- Balance of technical and business knowledge, with necessary technical expertise in product development
On a final note: “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” –Nelson Mandela