There are two forms of things called ‘milestones’ in Shotgun:
- in project timeline, they appear as vertical lines
- on a Task entity, it’s a checkbox field, and is used to change its drawing style on Gantt charts.
There are no ‘questions’ per se in this posting. I’m just hoping on consensus, or debate. I’m seeking ground truth. tia.
The Project Timeline milestone is simple:
- it’s essentially a deadline or kickoff
- it usually occurs near the start or end of a phase
- it shows up on the project’s Task Gantt charts
- they are managed by facility-wide planners and help provide oversight
A Milestone-attributed Task is:
- a Task that has its milestone checkbox on. That’s it. It changes to a diamond shape.
When a Task is changed to a milestone-type one – apart from its display style – what exactly would that mean about its intrinsic identity? How do you even put it into a common-sense sentence? The connection between Task and Milestone is at an arm’s length:
“Once we completed that task, we reached a new milestone.”
A milestone is all about marking the completion of one or more events – it’s in its dictionary-definition: it’s a marker on a road.
Maybe you could think of it as a Task that, on its end point, has a marker attached to it… but we normally identify milestones by the completion of more than one task.
It’s not something that has duration, or assigned people, it’s all about ‘funnelling’ dependencies so you can manipulate them more easily in the Gantt view. But any Task that’s downstream can do that.
Truth be told: it’s not a Task at all, in the same way a phase is not a deadline. Unfortunately it’s pseudo-data that serves only to implement a viewing function.
What are they good for then, besides the icon-thingy in the Gantt chart?
- (I could not think of anything to put here)
Therefor, if you must use them:
- never assign people to them
- never give them a duration
- pray that Shotgun gets rid of them
- think deeply about what you’re actually trying to model.
And if you do end up with them – it likely means you created another type of task, and not really a milestone. Maybe it’s a delivery task. Or archive. Essentially a nail-in-the-coffin-task.
A Task, if it could interact with a Project Milestone, should:
- not be able to have its dates set earlier/later (modelling a fixed, ‘deadline-flavored’ milestone)
…or in the case of a ‘completion’- or ‘kickoff’-style or ‘calculated’ milestone:
- when the dates of the linked Task are altered, it would move the “calculated” milestone’s date
- this could be used to model the project notifying the facility that they are ahead or behind the planned date.
These idealized goals come with many devilish details unfortunately (and the developers would be quick to reinforce this) …Tasks can be:
- historical records (cmpt, omit, etc)
- future plans (waiting)
- in progress (part history, part plan.)
There’s a high likelihood that many of you will find this completely against-the-grain, or non-intuitive or potentially incorrect, but I find the best way to expose truth is to blabber mindlessly.
There seems to be very little information about milestones. In the interest of concentrating wisdom, I’ve presented my thoughts on the topic for debate or reference. Or a fire-starter.