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Milestone trend analysis (incl. Excel template)

The milestone trend analysis (MTA) is used in project management to keep an overview of the key dates of the project. It is updated regularly on the respective reporting dates.

The prerequisite for the effective use of the MTA is, as the name suggests, the planning of milestones or stage gates (phase gates) in the project as well as regular reporting.

Milestone trend analysis with Excel, without report data
MTA with Excel, without report data

How do you fill the MTA?

The figure below shows the top left corner of the MTA. The different input fields are highlighted in color.

Exemplary completed milestone trend analysis
Exemplary completed MTA
  • Yellow: the designation of the milestone, here referred as MS1
  • Green: the initial planned date of the milestone, here 01.05.2022
  • Blue: the reporting date on which the estimate of the milestone dates is submitted
  • Purple: the expected completion date for milestone MS1

The interpretation of the MTA is as follows:

The project is going exactly as originally planned

The lines are all horizontal in this case. Each milestone has its own color in the following illustration.

Milestone trend analysis with Excel, ongoing project exactly as planned
Milestone trend analysis with Excel, ongoing project exactly as planned

The expected dates fluctuate, but things are going better than planned

The lines leave their original horizontal paths, but they run downwards towards the finish line (black).

Milestone trend analysis with Excel, better than planned project
Milestone trend analysis with Excel, better than planned project

The expected dates vary, the project is taking longer than planned

The lines leave their horizontal path in an upward direction. A worst-case scenario is when the lines run upwards and move parallel to the finish line: in this case the project goal will not be achieved.

Milestone trend analysis with Excel, project running longer than planned
Milestone trend analysis with Excel, project running longer than planned

The Excel template

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