What is Milestone in Agile?

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StarAgile

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Apr 11, 2023

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Generally, a milestone is used to know where your project is going. Every milestone helps you evaluate the project’s progress and check whether you are going in the right direction. Agile milestones also help you in determining your Agile project’s progress. As a safe Agilist, you must read on to learn all about Agile milestones.

What are Agile Milestones?

An Agile milestone helps you visualise the progress you have made so far. Simply put, a specific point in the Agile project indicates significant development. Let’s understand this with an example.

Suppose you are planning to launch a new product line. An Agile milestone, in this case, could be when the research is done, the product has received required approvals, or the production has started. 

You must note that the milestones you set depend on the industry and goals and thus vary from project to project. However, once set, your team can use these milestones to measure performance and ensure the project is on the right track.

Some examples of milestones in Agile projects are as follows: 

Launch of a new feature/product

Updation of an existing feature

Rebranding your existing product

Important events or meetings

Completion of business strategy as planned

As a safe Agilist, you must focus on achieving the milestones tactfully and effectively, and the project will take care of itself. However, you must note that milestones and tasks in your project need to be flexible. This means it should be easier for you to convert tasks into milestones and vice versa. 

One must take reasonable measures to set meaningful and achievable milestones for the projects and always be ready to change set milestones if needed, post-evaluation.

Types of Agile Milestones

Below mentioned are the types of milestones classified by SAFe.

 1. Learning Milestone

With the help of this milestone, you can question the project’s feasibility and capabilities. This milestone assumes that every business has uncertainties that must be translated into knowledge and business benefits. A few of the things in which Learning Milestone can help are mentioned below:

Evaluating the market and finding out customer preferences 

Checking whether the non-financial measures can validate real progress

2. Fixed Date Milestone

As the name suggests, this milestone includes events, release dates, scheduling of deliverables, and production completion that must occur on or before the predetermined date. 

3. Program Increment (PI) Milestone

These time-based milestones help evaluate progress toward the business or technical hypothesis. This PI principle provides required discipline and creates time boundaries that ensure proper evaluation. 

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Benefits of using milestones in Agile 

What if your plan has no checkpoint? Will you be able to track your projects? No, right? Even if you know where you started and where you are going, you won’t be able to keep track of your path there. That’s where milestones will help you. 

Below are some benefits of using agile milestones in your plan.

  1. Gives an overview of all major deadlines
  2. Allows you to spot bottlenecks before the time
  3. Helps you track the progress of your projects/plans
  4. Lets you spot important dates during the development
  5. Motivates your team as you can celebrate small achievements 

How to use milestones in Agile?

Milestones are an essential element of your project plan. They should be remarkable turning points that clarify where your project is standing. Following are a few simple steps that will help you set reasonable milestones. 

1. Create your project plan

Before setting a milestone, you need to have most of your project plan ready. Some of the questions that will help you plan your project are:

  • What’s your ultimate goal?
  • What are the deliverables to achieve it?
  • What’s the timeline to accomplish it?
  • Which teams are involved?
  • What are the tasks that will help you accomplish your goals?

2. Look for the highlights

 

Milestones are those turning points that indicate a major achievement in your project. So, to find out your milestones, you first need to figure out the highlights of your project. A few key highlight examples that will help you achieve your milestones are as follows:

3. Set your milestones 

Now that you have figured out the major key highlights of your project, it is time to set your milestones. First, you must decide whether to set all milestones as highlights. And how many milestones should there be? Unfortunately, there isn’t any right answer for this, as it depends on the type of project and your timeline.

 

Being a safe Agilist, you can use Agile milestone charts like Agile Gantt Chart to set multiple milestones and monitor your project. You can also use it to convert tasks into milestones. 

How does the Agile milestone differ from a sprint?

Before we learn the difference between the two, let’s understand what a sprint is. It is a short period within which a team decides to complete a set amount of work. As a safe Agilist, you need to determine the number and length of the sprints at the start of your project. Now, let’s understand the difference between milestones and sprints. 

Sprints balance the development cycle as they help decide what to do in a specific time duration and when to get feedback. Milestones, conversely, mark and celebrate important developments in your project. In simpler words, milestones and sprints address different issues in a project. You can use both milestones and sprints in your project.

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Conclusion 

Keeping the above things in mind, you must focus on setting and completing milestones tactfully and with quality. However, the milestones and tasks must be easily converted from tasks to milestones and vice versa. Sign up for  StarAgile’s  SAFe Training to learn more about milestones in Agile and how to set them. The SAFe Agilists are highly respected in the industry and there is always a never-ending demand for qualified and skilled SAFe Agilists in the market.

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