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Defining the Decision Points (Milestones)
By Dr.Russell Archibald

Key decision points (events or milestones) occur at the start and end of each phase or sub-phase. They may also occur within any of the life cycle phases. The decisions typically authorize the project manager and team to:

  • Proceed with the remaining work in the current phase.
  • Start work on the ensuing phase.
  • Re-plan and re-start a phase or sub-phase already completed if satisfactory results have not been achieved.
  • Revise the project objectives, plans and schedules when major changes in scope are required.
  • Terminate the project if the conclusion has been reached that its objectives cannot be achieved successfully or if the risks have been determined to be too great.
  • Place the project on hold pending availability of funds, new technology, or some other external event.

Dr. Russell D. Archibald, PhD (Hon), MSc, Fellow PMI and APM/IPMA, PMP, is one of the six founding members of the Project Management Institute. Now semi-retired, he has many years of management experience in engineering and operations with a variety of major US corporations in Europe and South America as well as the US. He has made major contributions to the understanding of project management, is author of the best selling 2003 book “Managing High-Technology Programs and Projects” (published also in Russian, Chinese, and Italian), has trained more than a thousand program and project managers and project specialists around the world, and has consulted in project management to clients in 14 countries on 4 continents. E-mail: russell_archibald@yahoo.com. Website: www.russarchibald.com.

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