Setting objectives does not always guarantee their achievement. That is why one of the most effective methods of achieving your goals is to set so-called milestones. With their help, you are able to implement the development plan of your e-commerce business step by step.
Why is setting milestones crucial for achieving business objectives?
The name milestones (Latin, milliarium) originates from the Roman Empire. The term referred to stone signs placed along roads leading to important cities. Over two thousand years ago, these signs helped travelers reach their destinations. Today, in a slightly different version, they help achieve business goals.
How do milestones work in projects?
In project management, a milestone is an event in the schedule that represents the culmination of some part of the work on a project. Its achievement is associated with the completion of a certain stage on the way to the established goal. For example – you are planning to launch a store on Magento platform together with an e-commerce agency. So the goal is simple: a working and selling store on the domain you own. (Want to know how to describe goals effectively? Check out this blog post). To reach it, you need a kind of “roadmap”. This is what our milestones are. In this case they might look like this:
- defining project requirements,
- specifying technical conditions of store operation and selecting appropriate technologies,
- completing the project team,
- creating graphic design for the store,
- creating a test version of a store on staging*,
- acceptance tests of the store and introduction of necessary corrections,
- starting sales on the production server.
*In this point we can create at least a dozen milestones, including setting up test environments, creating development procedures, configuring servers, etc. This topic is so broad that we will return to it in a separate, dedicated article.
Why is setting milestones so important?
Seeing the goal of launching a store in front of your eyes can be a bit confusing. How do you make it happen? How long will it take? What do you need to keep in mind? It’s a bit like the question asked in productivity training: “How do you eat an elephant?”. The answer, of course, is – “piece by piece”. The pieces in this case are well-defined milestones – intermediate goals, the achievement of which will bring us closer to the main goal. So the next question seems logical: “who should set the milestones in the project?”.
How can an e-commerce agency work on your store development?
One of the advantages of a good e-commerce agency is the comprehensiveness of the services offered. This means that by establishing cooperation with an agency you should be able not only to commission them building a store, but also (at a later time) its technical service, or benefiting from business consultations. E-commerce agencies, especially those that have been in the business for years, have a lot of knowledge and experience from working with other clients. So they know exactly what mechanisms and technologies can bring your store measurable benefits. They also know the whole project management process inside out. For this reason, when establishing cooperation you should require not only access to certified developers, but also substantive help in choosing the right path of development. The knowledge possessed by the agency is useful in determining milestones in the projects conducted for you, thanks to which you will receive a clear “signpost” of the work in progress, as well as you will know what stages of implementation will take place. Knowing the milestones of the project will also allow you to keep your superiors informed about the next steps taken to achieve the common goal.