Creating and Celebrating Project Milestones

As a project manager you know that some projects take a long time to reach completion. Because of this, it pays to have milestones along the way to help keep team members focused and motivated. A short break to showcase the efforts being made can help everyone on the team to see the bigger picture and grasp where the team stands in the overall scope of the project.

Team members should have a voice in determining milestones and in targeting completion dates. They may even have a better feel than the project manager of just how long each milestone will take to accomplish. In addition, if the team members help set the deadlines they are likely to be more committed to meeting them.

Once the milestones have been agreed upon, the project manager and team should create a comprehensive plan for achieving those goals. Clear guidelines should be set for the various work phases so that each person knows his or her responsibilities.

Having met the milestone, it is then time to relax and celebrate. Doing so can help refuel and energize the team for work yet to be done. It is probably best to avoid celebrating specific accomplishments of one group, but instead to celebrate team successes.

Plan your celebrations early and let the team know what is to come. Whether it’s happy hour at a local restaurant or a catered lunch in the office, the cost is minimal when weighed against the potential benefits. The most important thing is to sincerely acknowledge and convey gratitude for what has been accomplished.

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