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Milestone Planning and Criteria
By Johanna Rothman

Effective project managers and software engineers understand that a general approach of

  1. Requirements planning
  2. Feature definition (leading to feature freeze)
  3. Design and implementation (leading to code freeze)
  4. Verification and Validation (leading to ship)

is a time-effective and cost-effective way to implement a project. In addition, early and often reviews and inspections will reduce project time (Gilb, 1993). Project managers following this technique can get a better handle on the milestones of feature freeze, code freeze, system test, beta freeze, and ship freeze.

In an iteratively planned project, it is critical that the project team agrees on what each milestone means. The project manager depends on accurate information about the current state of tasks from the project team. How can the project be successful if the project manager and team do not understand what the milestones mean?

To use the iterative planning technique, the project manager plans the major milestones (e.g. feature freeze, code freeze, system test, beta freeze, and ship freeze), and then iterates on the work between the milestones.

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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