An ABC of R2: M is for milestones

…which are important even on an Agile project.

Many people who read just a little about Agile development think there are no fixed commitments. It’s true that there is constant reprioritisation of work, but that generally operates at the task level, and there is still a need to set goals and stick to them. After all, how else can you give the people who sign the cheques reassurance that you’ll deliver what they want?

So when we planned R2 we also set milestones marking when we would make the major launches of each section. Each milestone was stated very simply at the high level: launch the homepage, launch the Environment section, etc. These were the targets we put before our senior stakeholders, and they were what we were accountable for.

At a lower level we planned for each launch to include specific features: the Culture launch would include a special component to list the critics; the Sports launch would include a component showing the latest betting odds from Blue Square; and so on. It was these lower level details which were always up for reprioritisation. As long as we could deliver sufficient features to allow the launch of each section we could fairly be said to be hitting that milestone and satisfying our senior stakeholders.