9 Project Milestone Examples for a Better Writing Process and Experience

             


What is a project milestone?
Why do project milestones matter in project planning?
What are some project milestones examples?
  1. Complete interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs)
  2. Produce a pre-draft outline
  3. Gain approval to move to drafting
  4. Produce a first draft
  5. Complete a round of reviews
  6. Develop associated graphics or visuals
  7. Gain final approval from stakeholders
  8. Conduct a review meeting for final sign off
  9. Publish or otherwise release the material
How can you create your own milestones?

What is a project milestone?
Simply stated, a milestone is an achievement that brings you closer to the completion of a larger project. Each milestone falls on the project timeline with its own deadline and is recognized when reached. Project milestones are distinct from tasks, which are the individual actions that people take in pursuit of each milestone and, ultimately, project completion.
In general, milestones
  • Are important steps or achievements along the project life cycle
  • Should be spaced evenly to generate momentum for the next milestone on the continuum
  • Enable teams to track progress on the project calendar or project management timeline
  • Carry repercussions if they’re missed
  • Provide learning experiences for the project team.
Why do project milestones matter in project planning?

They make project management and implementation more likely to succeed.

When writing projects come down to the last minute, with teams cramming months of work into a few weeks or days, the “finished” product will always be poorer. In the end, poor project management undermines the effectiveness of the document and create more work for the team in the long run when they have to spend time rewriting.

Indeed, according to the 9th Global Project Management Survey from the Project Management Institute, over a third (37%) of projects outright fail in the absence of defined project objectives and milestones. They’re that important!

Instead, when a team is working on a critical writing project with a firm deadline, implementing measurable milestones can help the team meet the deadline and achieve the best result.

Project milestones can motivate and keep project participants and stakeholders on track.

Team leaders can use the milestone examples described to encourage accountability, allowing individuals to clearly see how their work affects other writers on the project. And having team members peer-review drafts and set interim deadlines for completing and submitting revisions can help make their writing tasks more manageable.

Writing isn’t a once and done activity. Rather, it’s an ongoing process that increases in value with each project. By setting clear expectations for early and frequent milestones, team leaders can ensure that writing projects don’t rest solely on their shoulders and won’t be a last-minute nightmare. Set attainable goals for your writing projects and watch the quality of your work exceed expectations.
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What are some examples of project milestones? Every organization and project manager can define milestones for themselves, but common milestones appropriate to writing projects might include:
1: Complete interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs)
Some project steps have to be coordinated among multiple parties. Setting these tasks as milestones can ease the coordination and collaboration process by breaking the project into smaller segments according to which parties are involved in each segment.
2: Produce a pre-draft outline
For large-scale writing projects, we strongly recommend beginning with one or more prewriting activities that can help grease the wheels for producing a finished project. That might include an outline, some kind of brainstorming activity, freewriting, and more. Meeting this milestone means that your team is ready to begin drafting.
3: Gain approval to move to drafting
Most major organizational projects have to go through one or more rounds of approval to move to the next stage. That makes approval at these periodic points a natural milestone.
4: Produce a first draft
Once approvals have been granted, it's time to actually draft the document. This represents one of the most important milestones in the course of the project, but even this might be broken up into more granular milestones or subtasks depending on the complexity and size of the project. For example, project planners might set each individual chapter of a larger book or each individual module of a larger course as its own milestone.
5: Complete a round of reviews
Revisions are a fundamental part of the writing process. In fact, in many ways, revisions are where the real writing happens. Thus, the process of soliciting feedback and commentary makes for a natural milestone during the document development process.
6: Develop associated graphics or visuals
Most likely, the written document will be supplemented by additional visual assets, and it makes sense to segment that part of the larger project into its own milestone and team.
7: Gain final approval from stakeholders
Any major project needs approval(s) at key stages, including, and most important, final approval from key stakeholders at the end of the project. In fact, this final approval itself might include multiple milestones.
8: Conduct a review meeting for final sign-off
As an example of one of the milestones related to final approval, the organization might hold one or more formal review meetings prior to final sign-off. Because these review meetings can bring the team together, it makes sense to segment them into their own milestone.
9: Publish or otherwise release the material (perhaps first internally, then externally)
Ultimately, the final milestone is also project completion. As the material is at last published or publicized in its final form, the team both completes its final milestone and the project as a whole.
How can you create your own project milestones?
Setting milestones is a key component of the planning process. The Project Management Institute offers two models for creating milestones:
  • S.M.A.R.T. — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely
  • C.L.E.A.R. — Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, and Refinable
For example, producing a first draft refers to a specific accomplishment that can be measured and is realistically attainable in a timely way. By contrast, if your team is preparing a technical manual, just saying “Get it done” would make a poor milestone because it’s too non-specific. How do you know when it’s done? What has to get done? And consequently, it’s impossible to know if you’ve even set a realistic milestone or one that can be achieved in a reasonable timeframe. In the end, applying mid-project targets like these project milestone examples will create easily identifiable stops on the road to successful and satisfactory project completion. Establishing such a clear set of milestones with examples like these can hasten and streamline any writing projects.
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