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Milestone Definitions for Software Projects
By Johanna Rothman

This set of milestones is useful for defining software project schedules:

Milestone Criteria
Feature freeze The date when all required features are known and the detailed design has uncovered no more. No more features are inserted into the product.
Code freeze Implementation of the design has stopped. Some testing of the features has occurred.
System test freeze Integration testing is complete. Code freeze for system test to start.
Beta ship The date the Beta software ships to Beta customers
Product ship The date the product ships to the general customer base

For small projects, there may be only one of each freeze and Beta ship. For larger or more complex projects, functionality may be grouped so that part of the product is ready for code freeze while part of the product has still not met feature freeze.

This article is an excerpt from the article “Iterative Software Project Planning and Tracking”, which can be found at: http://www.jrothman.com/Papers/7ICSQ97.html

Johanna Rothman consults, speaks, and writes on managing high-technology product development. Johanna is the author of Manage It!’Your Guide to Modern Pragmatic Project Management’. She is the coauthor of the pragmatic Behind Closed Doors, Secrets of Great Management, and author of the highly acclaimed Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People. And, Johanna is a host and session leader at the Amplifying Your Effectiveness (AYE) conference (http://www.ayeconference.com). You can see Johanna’s other writings at http://www.jrothman.com.

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