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Hitting Milestones

Because of something a business partner on a new initiative said to me recently, I have a newly kindled admiration for the power of focusing on milestones as the heart of planning, with projects and tasks bound to those milestones. I think all he said was, 'we need to get down a list of milestones and tasks'.  So that is what I did on a whiteboard.  

As I outlined the milestones for our project, I had a few clear calendar hardened dates we were shooting for, such as our first and second funding round completion dates.  From there, it wasn't hard to stake a few major achievements and events that have to be planned to make each of those dates. I also included a few ongoing operational milestones we would need to hit post launch to  (i.e. first regular report published, etc.) to initiate those projects.If something is important enough to be a milestone, it is on 'The Plan', and must have a target date.  If it is a ways off, maybe it is only a target quarter, but it has a place in time.  

To force progress, identify milestones driven by external factors or public events, making them difficult to delay, postpone or put off.  Once you commit, you will be bound and determined to deliver your best by external date or announced event.If something has a target date, you better start planning via one or more Projects full of tasks that you need to complete, in order to complete the Project in time to meet the milestone.

I have always been pretty good at capturing and grouping tasks into project plans, and have naturally been driven by external calendars in the seasonal and event driven world of sports and events.  When I migrated to industries without a forced seasonal calendar, I struggled without someone else driving the schedule. Now with milestones more firmly in my sights as how to frame my project and task priorities, I can lay a plan and schedule my months, weeks and days more effectively.I hope that with my newfound appreciation for how to define and tie milestones more meaningfully to my projects and tasks, I can better focus on the right work...we'll see.

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