Making the commitment
The role of milestones within the project plan
The Commissionís supervision of Framework Programme research projects focuses on deliverables. These are outputs identified in the project plan that result from specific activities. In practice, however, participants in the project will need to monitor progress during each activity rather than simply find out after the event whether or not a deliverable has been achieved. The use of milestones within the project plan is a management tool that gives the participants comfort that problems can be identified at an early stage.
Milestones allow risks to be assessed before they start impacting on the project and provide a means of monitoring whether an appropriate level of effort is being applied to each task. Check that your partners understand and subscribe to the implications of managing the project at this level. Avoid tasks that allow one partner to go away for an extended period of time and come back with a result.
Ensure that the milestones built into the project plan are meaningful. Use them to build a critical path through the project plan that allows progress to be measured and supports the evaluation of the risk of failure.