Looking for some easy-to-use milestone templates?
Milestones are crucial to project management as they help you keep track of important events and reveal your current progress.
However, to make the best use of milestones, you need to visualize them by using a project milestone template or by plotting them a Gantt chart.
In this article, we’ll briefly cover what milestones are and how to create a milestone chart. We’ll also reveal our curated list of top 5 milestone templates.
Finally, we’ll let you in on a secret to map your milestones perfectly!
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links to jump to a specific section)
- What is a project milestone?
- How to create a milestone chart?
- Milestone templates: 5 useful examples
- What are the problems of using milestone templates?
- What’s the best way to map milestones?
Let’s get started!
What Is A Project Milestone?
Milestones are key achievements along your project timeline.
They are checkpoints that signify the completion of key events or tasks.
For example, releasing the first version of a video game is a milestone for the game development team.
Note: This is a small section going over the basics of project milestone templates. If you want to skip ahead to the downloadable templates, click here.
What’s the difference between timeline and milestone?
A timeline is a series of project-related events sorted in chronological order.
The project timeline contains all the events related to the project, both big and small.
Milestones are certain points on the timeline, which represent only crucial events like the beginning of a new project phase, critical tasks, and important meetings with the stakeholders.
Why are project milestones important?
Milestones are important because they:
- Help your project team get a clear map of the project’s main phases and dependencies
- Motivate your team by giving them a sense of accomplishment
- Keep your stakeholders in the loop to increases their confidence in your project
Essentially, having milestones gives your teams and stakeholders a reason to celebrate and to be as happy as this doggo here:
How To Create A Milestone Chart?
Now that we know why milestones are important, we need to learn how to create a project milestone chart.
Here are two things you need to do to create a milestone chart:
- Choose your milestones
- Use project milestone templates
Now let’s take a closer look at these steps:
Step 1: Choose Your Milestones
First things first, you need to choose your milestones before making a chart and plotting them.
Otherwise, it’ll be like throwing darts blindfolded.
It’s not going to end well.
Don’t worry, all you need to do is answer a simple question:
“Does this qualify to be a project milestone?”
What are the best practices for identifying project milestones?
A milestone is always an important event.
Here are some examples of milestones for almost any project type:
- The end date or start date of a new project phase like ‘testing phase’ or ‘coding phase’
- Key deliverables of the project like; the first working software
- Major events like ‘project sponsor sanction’, ‘project proposal’, or ‘design approval’
Step 2: Use project milestone templates
Now, it’s time to implement those milestones.
How can you do that?
Just download a new milestone template and open it in PowerPoint, Excel, or as a Google sheet.
Then, just add your data, and you’re done.
Why Do You Need A Milestone Template?
Milestone templates are useful because they:
- Help you and your project team clearly visualize the milestones
- Save you time and work since you don’t have to start from scratch
- Act as a guide for those who are new to project management
Milestone Templates: 5 Useful Examples
There are a ton of milestone templates out there, so how do you choose?
Don’t worry; we’ve done the work for you!
Here’s our curated list of the best new milestone templates out there:
1. Project timeline template with milestones
This is a simple and eye-catching PowerPoint milestone chart template from Office Timeline.
Click here to download this project timeline template.
2. Stakeholder Map milestone list template
This one is a minimalist milestone list, that’s available as an Excel/Word Template. You get a table to list out your milestones along with their description, type, and date.
Click here to download this project milestone template.
3. Gantt chart with timeline and milestones
This Excel Gantt chart template allows you to map out the entire project timeline easily. It not only lets you add key milestones, but also task dependencies.
As an added bonus, this timeline format is visually appealing – unlike most other templates.
Click here to download this timeline chart.
4. Gantt chart with milestones for Agile projects
This is an Excel Gantt chart template with milestones specifically designed for Agile teams.
5. Milestone roadmap PowerPoint timeline template
This ten-slide long, visually pleasing PowerPoint timeline template offers various roadmap charts to let you view your milestones from different angles.
Click here to download this timeline template.
What Are The Problems Of Using Milestone Templates?
Using a template is like hanging out with an acquaintance; it’s mostly fun and certainly better than nothing.
However, you can’t compare it to a lively night out with your best friend!
So what’s the best-friend equivalent in project management?
A powerful dedicated project management software like ClickUp.
ClickUp is the world’s highest-rated project management software. Used by 100,000+ super productive teams in companies from startups to giants like Google and Airbnb, it’s the one tool that can not only map your milestones but also cater to any project management need.
But wait, templates do a good job with mapping out milestones, right?
Templates rely on manual data entry and can be extremely limiting.
For example, individual task statuses need to be updated manually every time it changes.
Additionally, in real-life projects, milestones aren’t the only things you’ll be dealing with.
You’ll also need to do stuff like:
- Improve coordination with your teams
- Manage your Agile project management process
- Create a work breakdown structure
Unfortunately, a simple project management template can’t handle any of these tasks.
Here are a few more issues that will arise when you use templates:
A. Team collaboration is a challenge
Hanging out with friends is the most fun when everyone is in sync: you laugh together, you go to parties together, and do many countless things together.
Similarly, in project management, team coordination is crucial if you want to supercharge your productivity. Your project team needs to easily have task-relevant discussions and share new project updates and documents together.
However, a PowerPoint and Google sheet isn’t going to help you here.
There’s no place to have engaging task-relevant discussions or share documents.
Luckily, ClickUp takes your team collaboration to a whole new level. Here’s how:
ClickUp solution: Comment sections
ClickUp Comments have a ton of useful functionalities.
Each individual task in ClickUp has a built-in comment section where your team members can:
- Attach files and docs
- Quote any comment
- Assign or tag any other member
B. Templates aren’t flexible
Different situations call for different approaches.
You can’t have a one-size-fits-all solution.
You can’t wear your favorite pajamas everywhere, especially at a job interview.
It’s going to warrant this response from the interviewer:
Similarly, in project management, you need to have the flexibility to change into something that fits the occasion.
For example, you’ll probably need to view multiple projects in a Kanban-board-style when you’re using Agile. However, you’ll need a task list format for your other small projects.
With a Google sheet or PowerPoint template, however, there’s no room for any changes. You’re stuck with what you’ve got.
ClickUp solution: Multiple Views
ClickUp is built to adapt to your preferred working style. You can view your Workspace from a completely different angle with just one click.
Here’s a list of useful views you get:
- List View: great for teams who prefer to view their project workspace as a GTD-style task list
- Board View: visualize your tasks Kanban-style
- Calendar View: plan and manage your project schedule across a calendar
- Me Mode: only highlights project tasks and items assigned to you
- Box View: high-level task overview to figure out who is working on what
Sorry templates, we’re way ahead of ya!
What’s The Best Way To Map Milestones?
So it’s clear that milestone templates have issues.
And it’s also clear that ClickUp can solve those issues.
So what’s the best way to map out milestones?
We think the answer’s pretty clear.
Let’s take a look at how can ClickUp help you map milestones with ease:
Step 1. Creating a detailed project structure
Before you start work on your milestones, you first need a project plan and structure.
And the best way to structure your new project is to split it into tasks and subtasks.
For example, if you are developing a video game, your project plan will look like:
- Project goal: Build an action PC game
- Task A: Planning
- Task B: Designing
- Task C: Coding
- Task D: Testing
- Subtask: Bug testing
- Subtask: User testing
All this project planning sounds like a pain to implement, though, right?
If you’re using a project management template; keep a bottle of aspirin handy, you’re gonna need it!
If you’re using ClickUp, keep your sunglasses handy because you’ll manage operations like a boss!
ClickUp’s Tasks and Subtasks lets you easily split any long project into smaller Tasks and Subtasks. Now, instead of attempting everything at once, your team can now work on the whole project step-by-step.
The best part?
Each Task and Subtask comes with a project status bar to track your project 24/7.
You can also add Checklists to these project tasks for advanced task management. These are simple to-do-lists to map out small things like quality-check items. This way, by crossing them off as they progress, your team can take care of the tiniest details.
Step 2. Assigning the milestones in an organized way
Your project has a structure, great.
Now it’s time to prioritize and organize your project tasks according to their project phase.
Here’s what you have to do before adding the milestones:
- Identify the critical tasks and the deliverables
- Determine the specific tasks which begin or end a project phase
- Identify the tasks (like deciding the project budget) which require stakeholder approval
Simply add the specific milestones to these tasks.
And, what’s the most organized and convenient way to do it?
Spoiler: It’s not a timeline template.
It’s ClickUp’s Milestones.
ClickUp lets you add a milestone to any task with just a couple of clicks.
To make things even easier, ClickUp lets you quickly identify the new milestone tasks by keeping the task names bold and adding a diamond icon beside them in the Task List view or Calendar view.
Step 3. Use a Gantt chart to map things out
Now for the most fun part; it’s time to visualize your tasks.
How do you do it?
By using a Gantt chart.
A Gantt chart is a visual map that charts all the tasks scheduled over the entire project timeline.
Gantt charts visualize a range of project details like:
- Tasks and their assignees
- The dependencies of the tasks
- The overall project progress
Sure, Gantt charts are pretty cool.
But it gets even better with milestones.
When you add the key milestones to your Gantt charts, you’ll get a clear view of all the important dates, events, deliverables, and deadlines.
And for the clearest view of things, try ClickUp’s Gantt chart view.
ClickUp’s Gantt charts aren’t just visually appealing; they’re also powerful and super fun to use.
See for yourself:
Here are some cool things they can do:
- Automatically re-adjusts task dependencies after changing the project schedule
- Automatically calculate project completion percentage
- Can determine your critical path when you’re facing a tight project schedule
The best part?
For added visibility, your milestones are automatically plotted as yellow diamond icons in your Gantt chart.
Want to know more about Gantt charts? Read our detailed guide here.
But wait, that’s not all.
This was just the welcome drink.
We have a keg full of features waiting for you:
- Dependencies: helps you plan and attempt your tasks in the right order
- Advanced reporting: get detailed reports on project progress with powerful analytical charts like Velocity Charts, Burndown Charts, Burnup Charts, and Cumulative Flow Charts
- Project Management Automation: automate repetitive and complex project processes within ClickUp
- Native Time Tracking: track the hours your remote team spends on tasks within ClickUp
- Goals: break down your entire project goal into smaller, measurable Targets
Sure, milestone templates can help you at times…
However, you also need to remember that:
- They’re inconvenient and inefficient for mapping milestones
- They can only handle one small aspect of project management
- You’d need to switch between dozens of templates for your various project needs
On the other hand, project management tools, like ClickUp, help you handle all your work, not just mapping key milestones. From creating a project plan to plotting milestones to tracking your progress, ClickUp has got you covered.
So why settle for a project template and deal with all those drawbacks, when you can get an all-in-one solution for FREE?!
Sign Up with ClickUp, and take the first step towards achieving all your project milestone goals today. This way, the next time you finish the first version of your project, approve your budget or hit any other project milestone, you’ll be able to easily track it in action!
Holly is a Coaching Program Manager at ClickUp, where she helps demystify how to set up Workspaces for max productivity. When she’s not thinking through complicated use cases and set up ideas, you can find her playing her harp or tossing a ball to her dog, Dingdong.