Milestone Based Planning

Whether your working on a Technology or apparel venture, it is imperative to have a plan and a strategy that you can share with the rest of the team. Through my personal endeavors, working at a VC firm, and for IDEA (Northeastern’s Venture Accelerator) I have found that ‘milestone-based planning’ seems to be the best method to help guide a venture through its development.

What is Milestone-Based Planning? 
 
Simply put, its setting long-term goals and then creating short-term milestones to help achieve that goal. In order to create this plan, the venture team or founders need to clearly determine where they would like to see their venture to be in three, and six months, and one year.
 
These goals should be set in stone and usually revolve around building a prototype, fundraising, recruitment, capital raise, etc.… The purpose is to set specific objectives and create a plan to achieve each goal. Rule of thumb: “Your goal should remain the same, while your plan can change.”
 
How To Create This Plan?
 
Get in front of a white board or take a large piece of paper. Write today’s date on the left hand side and draw a line extending one year out. Then mark off three and six month interval, ask yourself and team where you think the venture should be in those timeframes.
 
After doing so, for each goal, create a plan that captures the resources required: time, money, and human capital. By doing so, it becomes clear to the team as to where the company is headed and also clarifies if there are certain necessities that are missing for getting things done.
 
By the third month, revisit this map and evaluate whether your milestones and goals are still on track or if they need to change. No matter the outcome, it is extremely helpful for keeping everyone on the right track, fully motivated, and being able to uniformly explain to any outside what the company is up to.
 
If you have an alternative method of helping ventures achieve their goals, please share them below.
 
Any questions or comments, feel free to reach out.
 
Ashkan
 
Ashkan [at] Greenhorn [dot] com

 

Discussion

Interesting post about the

Interesting post about the milestones.  A few questions. 

1) Do you recommend providing a reward when a goal is reached?  Say setting a goal for 3months and if it's reached get some sort of reward? 

2) Can the goal be a monatary milestone?  ie: make $x by month 3?

I'm going to try applying this to one of my websites (Kids Party Supplies) and setting some milestone planning goals.