What Is a Milestone?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Milestones help keep projects on track by measuring progress in a project schedule.

[Featured Image]: Project Manager, sitting at a desk, going over the milestone schedule for the latest project with a team member.

A project milestone is a marker or checkpoint that indicates a major goal, event, or task within a project’s lifecycle. Typically, project milestones are used to mark the beginning or end of the phases within a project, which allows stakeholders to project plan effectively and assess a project’s progress as it’s being undertaken. Milestones are often used as a scheduling tool to identify when a major goal should be accomplished and to plan the steps, resources, and actions required to accomplish it. 

There are many benefits to using milestones in project management. In addition to providing a method for charting a path to completing a project, project milestones also allow stakeholders to measure project progress, clarify the project phase in which they’re working, and identify potential bottleneck issues. A milestone schedule provides stakeholders with an overview of the major events within a project without overwhelming them with all the details of the tasks required to complete it. This overview can be critical to providing a big-picture view of the project and ensuring everyone is on the same page. 

Milestone example

Project milestones are most often used to indicate the beginning and end of a project’s phases, but can also be used to indicate any notable date, task, event, or deliverable that must be achieved. Some common examples of project milestones include: 

  • Reaching a specific number of sales (e.g., 500 sales) 

  • The roll-out date for a product or service, such as a software update or product launch 

  • A particular deadline (e.g., the last day of a fiscal quarter)

  • A major achievement, such as completing a phase within a product’s development 

Learn more about project milestones from project management experts at Google:

Related terms

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