Gantt charts and milestone schedules are staples of modern project management techniques. A Gantt chart is a bar chart illustrating the schedule of a work project. It shows the dates of the start and finish of the project as well as the milestones along the way.
Some Gantt charts show the dependency between an activity and the previous activities, which is referred to as the precedence network. The milestones are a way to show the breakdown of the work of a project.
Milestones, as recorded on Gantt charts are used as checkpoints to determine how well a project is progressing. They signify how far along work on a project has come, and whether a project is headed in the right direction. A milestone might be something that marks the end of a phase of work, such as a deliverable product or document. Or it might be the completion of a set of calculations, or the results of an evaluation of a product’s functionality or safety.
Though Gantt charts and milestone schedules are considered commonplace, they were nothing short of a revolution when they were first introduced by Henry Gantt in the 1910s. Today there is even a Henry Laurence Gantt Medal awarded for achievements in management and community service.
A milestone is a marker in a project that signifies a change or stage in development. Milestones are powerful components in project management because they show key events and map forward movement in your project plan.
Milestones act as signposts through the course of your project, helping ensure you stay on track. Without project milestone tracking, you’re just monitoring tasks and not necessarily following the right path in your project.
Milestones can do more than just show progress—they can help you communicate what’s happening with your project. TeamGantt features project milestones in its free project management software, so it seamlessly syncs with all of your gantt chart’s moving parts.
Project management milestone
Milestones make it easier to keep projects on track by calling out major events, dates, decisions, and deliverables. Here are a few examples of project milestones you might include in your plan:
- Start and end dates for project phases
- Key deliveries
- Client and stakeholder approvals
- Important meetings and presentations
- Key dates or outages that may impact your timeline
Gantt charts show a current schedule status using shadings that show what percentage of a task is complete, along with a vertical line representing the current day. In the field of information technology, Gantt charts and milestone schedules are used to depict data collected.
Gantt created many types of charts, including charts that foremen could use to quickly know if production was on, ahead of, or behind schedule. Project management today continues to use similar systems. His charts had representations of each worker’s record, showing what each worker was assigned and completed, and representations of each day’s balance of work showing the amount of work assigned and the amount actually completed. These are still underlying fundamentals of project management.
Gantt charts and milestone schedules are ingrained parts of work culture, and have been since the latter part of the modern industrial revolution of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Without the two bedrock processes of using Gantt charts and milestone schedules, modern workplaces would most likely be fundamentally different.