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A milestone chart helps project or program managers, stakeholders and team members visualize and easily track the progress of a project. Illustrating planned significant events that are scheduled to occur at a certain time, a milestone chart allows for corrective actions to be taken if the project is falling behind and, thus, ensures that efforts successfully stay on target.
Learn more about what a milestone chart is and how it can be used in project management with the help of our Q&As below. We’ve also included here a free downloadable milestone chart template that you can customize to build a clear, professionally-looking visual mapping of your project.
A project milestone chart or milestone schedule is a visual display of important events (also known as milestones) that make up the planned course of a project’s timeline.
The usual format of a milestone chart is that of a timeline that uses various symbols (squares, diamonds, circles etc.) to separate a project schedule into major phases. It typically contains a horizontal timescale for the whole project’s life cycle along which milestones, their descriptions and due dates are shown vertically.
Through this simple yet clear type of display, milestone charts provide essential information about planned and actual completion dates of a work schedule.
Here are the basic steps you need to take in order to create a clear project milestone chart:
Alternatively, you can learn how to make a timeline or a milestone schedule using various office tools like Excel or PowerPoint with our step-by-step tutorials.
Examples of project milestones include:
A (project) milestone template is any pre-built timeline chart that gives a predefined format to your list of milestones. Milestone templates are useful because they:
Use the milestone chart template as a simpler way to illustrate, schedule and report your project. A milestone chart will provide a snapshot of your project for important presentations and communications with management or customers. This particular sample is a downloadable PowerPoint template so you can use the familiar application to easily change the milestone chart for any purpose.
Milestone charts can be used to illustrate the key events, objectives and targets of any project or plan. This makes the milestone template an excellent tool for planning projects or managing programs where visualizing the key components need to be displayed in chronological order on a time schedule. The free milestone chart template should be used for top level reviews. It was made for reporting to management and clients, or any audiences who should not be overwhelmed with the detailed minutia of a plan or project.
Since milestone charts provide a summary view of a project, they are easier to communicate than other complicated project charts made from long lists of tasks. Milestone charts are also excellent planning tools because they show key events on a timeline culminating in the completion of the plan.
Planners can use the free project milestone template to visualize the sequence of events they need to achieve, from which they can build more comprehensive plans for reaching each milestone. The timeline can be updated with your own milestones by manually adding them to the template with PowerPoint.
The milestone chart template was created with the milestone chart maker from Office Timeline. Office Timeline is a free plug-in for PowerPoint users. Use the free version to create a simple milestone chart or the advanced Pro+ Edition to add tasks or multi-level swimlanes if you need to show them. The Office Timeline add-in will quickly edit the styles, shapes, colors and design of any of the objects on the milestone chart.
Use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to quickly update any of these timeline templates or create your own project visuals. Easily change the texts, dates, colors, shapes and styles of your timeline, right from inside PowerPoint.