Milestone is a SMART goal, that can be split into individual issues for steps and closed at the end of a sprint. It is not a place to collect thematically similar issues (project boards allow to organize your work in many different ways). Ideally, every milestone should be:
Specific – Well defined, clear, and unambiguous. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. Provide enough detail in milestone description so that there is no indecision as to what exactly the participant should be doing. Avoid words like
discussand any other similar lexis. Description should be precise and clear as possible. General discussions and brainstorming should be happening in separate issues and can not be a part of a live milestone
Measurable – The goal must be quantifiable, or at least allow for measurable progress. In this step, you’ll choose what your progress markers are and how you’ll measure them.
Assignable and Agreed – every milestone requires an assignee (person who manages the milestone) and a person who validates the milestone at the creation stage and check with an assignee if there is any problem with deadline (tailor).
Relevant and Realistic – Relevance refers focusing on something that makes sense with the broader business goals (e.g. prioritize working on a product over one-off client requests). Be diligent about eliminating irrelevant goals and sub-goals to save time.
Time-related – Good goals don’t stretch into infinity – they have a deadline. Make a timeline for your goal, set deadlines for issues and for the entire milestone. Go for short-term rather than long term, as this is more manageable (MVP concept) If it’s a project that’s going to take a few months to complete, then set several milestones by considering specific tasks to accomplish. Complete regular weekly or monthly check-ins to make sure the project is on schedule.
To practice SMART goal setting you can use this printable worksheet.
Milestone description structure
- Assignee: single person, who will manage the milestone
- Approved by: single person from the tailors team
- Due Date/Deliverables Schedule:
if you cannot close the milestone before the due date - please comment in this issue what problems do you have, and what actions are taken/resources are needed to close the milestone
- Product: If this milestone is a part of a product development, please specify it here
- Brief background:
- Functional/business requirements:
As specific as possible. Progress markers (deliverables) and, ideally, your MVP should be obvious from this section.
- Dependencies and risks: What can go wrong and what can be done to mitigate the risks
Always keep an eye on the due dates for project milestones and issues. It can always be found in the milestone/issue description. It is important to set realistic deadlines and discuss them with the team.
- If you are the one creating a milestone, always follow our SMART guidelines and assign a due date, even when you are not sure how long it will take to complete.
- If you are working on an issue and are afraid you won’t be able to finish by the milestone due date, let the issue creator know right away. It will allow them to pull additional resources to help you or adjust their roadmap.
- If you want to change the milestone deadline, make sure to leave a comment on it in a milestone progress tracker.