A milestone is a task with a duration of zero. Milestones are used to mark important events such as meetings, delivery dates and deadlines. There are two types of milestone: start milestones and finish milestones. Start milestones and finish milestones are treated differently when
This is illustrated below, where a task that finishes at the end of a working day has two predecessor milestones. The start milestone (SM) is positioned at the start of the next working day, and the finish milestone (FM) is positioned at the end of the current working day:
Milestone appearances define the way which milestones are displayed in the bar chart. You can set up any number of milestone appearances and apply them to individual milestones - whether the milestones are tasks, resource allocations or cost allocations. Examples of different milestone appearances are: ; ; ; ; ; ; .
You can specify default milestone appearances to apply to start milestones and finish milestones as they are created, and you can apply different milestone appearances to individual milestones once they have been created. You can also specify default milestone appearances for individual consumable resources, permanent resources and cost centres, to be applied to zero duration resource allocations and point spend cost allocations. You may want to apply a different milestone appearance to each resource or cost centre to help differentiate between their allocations.
You can create a milestone by doing any of the following:
- Setting the duration of an existing task to zero.
- Right-clicking a task and selecting Make Into - Start Milestone or Make Into - Finish Milestone.
- Right-clicking a blank area of the bar chart and selecting Insert Milestone to insert a milestone at that location.
To change a start milestone to a finish milestone, or vice versa, right-click the milestone then select Make Into - Start Milestone or Make Into - Finish Milestone as appropriate. You can also specify whether a milestone is a start or finish milestone by editing the Milestone type field in the Dates section of the Task tab of the Bar and Task Properties dialog.
You can specify whether new milestones inherit code library assignments, calendar and the 'use parent calendar' setting, plus the WBS code, from a neighbouring task or from the bar chart defaults. To do this:
- Click the File tab, then click Options. The Options dialog appears.
- Click the Edit tab.
- Select the Inherit attributes from neighbouring task check box to specify that new tasks should inherit these attributes from a neighbouring task where possible, or clear the check box to specify that they should inherit these attributes (except WBS code) from the default settings that have been defined on the Task tab of the Bar Chart Defaults Properties dialog.
- Click OK.
You can change a milestone into a task by doing any of the following:
- Right-clicking a milestone and selecting Make Into - Task. The milestone is converted into a task with the default duration.
- Dragging one end of the milestone to increase its duration from zero.
Milestone appearances are Library Explorer objects. You create milestone appearances, edit their properties and delete them, in Library Explorer. All the milestone appearances in a project can be displayed in the project view.
To create or edit a milestone appearance:
- Access Library Explorer and click the Milestone Appearance library in the left pane.
- To create a new milestone appearance, right-click a blank area of the right pane and select New Milestone Appearance; to edit an existing milestone appearance, right-click the milestone appearance and select Properties. The Milestone Appearance Properties dialog appears.
- Enter a descriptive name to apply to the milestone appearance in the Name field.
- Select the shape to apply to the milestone appearance in the Appearance field.
- In the Sort order field, enter a number that determines the order in which the milestone appearance appears in the legend in printouts and in the project view. Milestone appearances with a lower number appear above those with a higher number.
To order milestone appearances in printout legends according to their sort order, select the Use milestone appearances library sort order check box on the Legends section of the tree in the Appearance tab of the Print dialog. If you do not select this check box, milestone appearances appear in legends in the order in which milestones of each appearance appear in the printout. To order milestone appearances in the project view according to their sort order, click the Sort milestone appearances by - Sort order radio button on the View tab of the Options dialog. If you do not click this radio button, milestone appearances appear in the project view in alphanumerical order.
- Click one of the Alignment radio buttons to determine the way in which milestones that use this appearance are aligned in relation to the actual point of time on which the milestone occurs. For example:
- It may be useful to align milestones that use appearances such as or to the left, so that the pointed element of the milestone "points" at the point in time on which the milestone occurs.
- It may be useful to align milestones that use vertically-symmetrical appearances such as or to the centre.
- It may be useful to align milestones that use appearances such as or to the right, so that the pointed element of the milestone "points" at the point in time on which the milestone occurs.
- Click Close.
You can apply different milestone appearances to milestones in the following ways:
- Drag a milestone appearance from the project view and drop it onto a milestone, provided that the project view is configured to display milestone appearances.
- Edit the properties of the milestone and select a milestone appearance in the Start appearance or Finish appearance field, on the Task tab of the Bar and Task Properties dialog.
- For zero-duration resource allocations, edit the properties of the allocation and select a milestone appearance in the Zero duration appearance field, on the Details tab of the allocation's Properties dialog.
- For zero-duration cost allocations, edit the properties of the allocation and select a milestone appearance in the Point spend appearance field, on the Cost Allocation tab of the Cost Allocation Properties dialog.
You can use milestones to measure the overall progress of a project. To do this:
- Create a summary group
or subchartthat contains a number of finish milestones, representing important stages in a project. The milestones can be placed on the same bar, or on different bars. Ensure that the summary group or subchartdoes not contain any other tasks.
- Link each milestone to an appropriate task in the project. For example, if one of the milestones is called 'Stage 1 Complete', create a link from the finish of the last task in Stage 1 of the project to that milestone.
- As various stages of the project are completed, mark the corresponding milestones as 100% complete.
You can obtain an overview of the progress of the project at any point by selecting the summary
When displaying a view,
Because you can configure milestone appearances to be aligned to the left, centre or right of the actual point in time on which a milestone occurs, in some circumstances milestones can be partially or completely obscured by other tasks on the same bar. Consider the following example, in which there are two tasks on the second bar, with a milestone () between them. The milestone appearance that is applied to the milestone has been configured to be right-aligned:
If tasks 2 and 3 are positioned so that task 3 starts immediately after task 2, as
If bar is displayed in one-task-per-line mode, we can see that the "missing" milestone is still there:
You can avoid situations like this by configuring
Milestone appearances that are configured to be centrally-aligned can also be partially obscured by the tasks that follow them - if the milestone appearance applied to the milestone in the illustration above was centrally-aligned, it would appear like this unless
To specify how milestones are drawn where they overlap tasks:
- Click the File tab, then click Options. The Options dialog appears.
- Click the View tab.
- Select the Always draw whole milestones check box to draw milestones on top of tasks where there is an overlap, or clear the check box to draw tasks and milestones on a bar from left to right, which can result in all or part of a milestone being obscured by a task that appears directly to the right of it.
- Click Close.
- On the Format tab, in the Format group, click Format Bar Chart. The Format Bar Chart dialog appears.
- On the Tasks tab, click Settings. The Overlapping Tasks and Milestone Rows Settings dialog appears.
- Click the Show in their own row radio button and click OK.
- Click Apply or Close in the Format Bar Chart dialog.
With this option set, milestones now appear on their own row within each bar:
You can use the Separation % field on the Overlapping Tasks and Milestone Rows Settings dialog to configure the gap between tasks and the milestone row in each bar.