Project Design: Focus on Milestone and Timeline

Fatima Abedisamakoush, RA student - Mohawk College

Easy Projects

  

In this blog post I am going to cover the following topics, project design definition and components as well as the definition of project milestones and timelines and how to develop them. At the end, I present some tools that can be used to create milestone/timeline charts for your project.

The definition of Project Design:

Project design is a responsive plan to an identified need in a systematic, comprehensive manner.

  

The checklist for developing a good design:

  - Follow the exact guidelines and instructions (format, margining etc.,).

  - Accurate identification and description of the problems and the goals of project.

  - Represent clearly the executive plans to reach the project goal/s.

  - Assessment and validation procedures to evaluate the progress of project.

  - Precise calculation of the duration and cost of a project.

The main components of each design:

- Project approaches (Problem description - Idea development - goal conceptualization).

- Methods (Information gathering - Examination and testing - Analysis).

- Activities (Assessment and validation - Refinement).

- Milestones and Timelines (Schedules planning).

  

Project Milestone definition:

Milestones are important events/points along the project processes that lead to create a realistic project schedule. Milestones can be defined as an achievement, an approval, a completion of a specific phase and etc.,

How milestone can be identified:

Milestone is the aspect of your project that informs the next step to demonstrate project’s feasibility. Project milestones are in particular essential to monitor the progress of a project and its countermeasures. The reviewers for the submitted proposal especially consider it crucial part.

Milestone Decomposition:

Large complex projects may need to develop milestones with associated tasks to represent the deliverability of a project. Therefore, each milestone is broken down into smaller phases or steps. Every step shows the tasks need to be done to achieve each milestone. If it is a team project, it is recommended to allocate tasks by adding the responsibilities of team leaders to specific milestone.

Time estimation for each milestone:

Milestones help track the advancement of a project and indicate the time frame for each activity to be executed and completed. It also helps predict do-ability of project in a tentatively expected duration. Therefore, time frame for each milestone must be calculated accurately and realistically. 

Project Timeline definition:

Timeline is a build out plan that gives information when the project begins and when it ends. Timeline is chronological events with a summary of activities applicable to a project in which, includes tasks, the relationship between tasks (dependencies), duration and deadlines.

  

Why we need timeline in project:

 - To enable more accurate determination of the budget and duration.

 - To demonstrate a visual picture of the project goals, work expands and deadlines.

 - To facilitate the analysis process including assessments and validations.

  

The process to design timeline:

 - Identify the scope of work throughout a project.

 - Discover the project requirements, tasks and activities and the amount of time each one needs to be completed.

 - Distinguish the relation between tasks, whether completion of one task is required before beginning of another task.

- Define the project milestones.

 - Choose desired tools/formats to create your timeline charts.

  

Some Software used for creating timeline:

TeamGantt software, to create GANTT Charts for planning project schedules.

HubSpot,  free accessible timeline temples in Google sheets

My Product Roadmap, to create a visualized and descriptive milestone/timeline

Template.net, to create a milestone/timeline for larger and more complex projects

   

References:

An Evidence-Based Guide to writing Grant Proposals for Clinical Research, Annuals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 142 Issue 4, 2005.

Development of Milestones and Project Schedules, ICTR Research Navigators, Version 4, 2014.

Developing timelines and milestone charts for your proposal, Vol.6 Issue 2, 2015.

Writing Implementation research Grant Proposals: ten key ingredients, Implementation Science, Vol. 7 Issue 96, 2012. 

https://www.who.int/tdr/publications/ir-toolkit/Module2_Session1-Slides_final.pdf?ua=1

https://www.kurzweiledu.com/files/proof_resources_grant1.pdf

https://www.teamgantt.com/blog/the-how-and-why-of-using-milestones-in-your-project-plan