Roadmap Milestone

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A roadmap milestone is a call out of a high-level date that the product team must keep in mind as they progress with the product. It could be signaling a major deadline or upcoming event that the team must be aware of. Different teams can have different roadmap milestones depending on the project, business nature, and similar other elements. Examples of roadmap milestones can be a tradeshow event, conference, quarterly meeting, product/feature release, etc.

A roadmap is a glimpse of what are the key goals of a project/product without presenting every detail about it. It helps the product team and other associated personnel to have a clear picture of what are the final targets to achieve from their efforts. However, if there are special activities or deadlines that the product team must know about in the roadmap, then they are displayed as roadmap milestones. In this article, we will clear out concepts around what is a roadmap milestone with examples.

What Is a Roadmap Milestone?

A roadmap milestone is a call out of a high-level date that the product team must keep in mind as they progress with the product. It could be signaling a major deadline or upcoming event that the team must be aware of. It can be termed as an important stepping stone towards the success of the product/project.

Examples of Roadmap Milestones

Different teams can have different roadmap milestones depending on the project, business nature, and similar other elements. However, the following are some common examples:

  • Industry event (tradeshow, conference, webinars, etc.)
  • Product/feature release
  • Quarterly meeting
  • Cross-functional launch meeting

All of the above examples of roadmap milestones reflect the important dates that the team must be aware of so that they can orient their work processes accordingly.

What Makes Milestones Different From Other Roadmap Elements?

A roadmap is a strategic plan that presents the expected outcomes or the key goals of a project. It provides a bigger picture of what are the objectives behind the project without detailing day-to-day tasks. In fact, most of the elements in a roadmap do not even involve any dates. Instead, there are timeframes for those elements, like 3 weeks, 2 months, etc.

On the other hand, milestones are not linked with any timeframes. They are presented as a single event or specific deadline with a clear date. Moreover, they are also popped out in the roadmap compared to other elements so that team members can easily visualize them.

How to Use Roadmap Milestones Effectively?

Roadmap milestones are highly useful to keep everyone focused and bring a sense of purpose to the efforts made by the team. Following are the two tips that can make a team use it effectively:

1. Include a Few Milestones at a Time

Milestones must pop out in the roadmap to make them visible to everyone, but a roadmap with plenty of milestones at a time is not recommended. When there are too many milestones displayed in the roadmap, it is difficult for the team to remember and catch up with them.

Therefore, it is recommended to have only a few milestones at a time so that it is easy to focus on them. In addition, milestones should also only reflect the major events, such as deadlines, feature releases, industrial events, etc.

2. Don’t Specify Dates Too Soon

Although a roadmap milestone is usually associated with a specific date, it is not necessary to set the date at the time you create a milestone. Some milestones become with pre-defined dates, such as an industrial event, conference, or annual internal meeting. However, when there is flexibility to adjust the milestone date, then it is preferred to not even mention the date initially.

For example, if a team is planning the next big release, it can initially set the milestone as “end of Q2”. Later, when the time comes near, the team will be more confident to provide the specific date of the release. That’s when the milestone can be updated with a specific date.

In a nutshell, roadmap milestones are highly resourceful elements in a roadmap that gives teams a purpose to focus on and the goal to achieve. Therefore, product teams must actively use them in their product/project roadmaps.

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