Project Schedule Quality 103: Finding Invalid Milestones

project schedule quality invalid milestones

Written By Andrew Makar

Professional Cat Herder and an Agile Enthusiast with a keen interest in putting PM theory into actual practice.

The following tutorial is 3rd part of our project schedule quality series that provides over 14 different ways to improve your project schedule.

In this Microsoft Project tutorial, you’ll identify invalid milestones using by creating an invalid milestone custom filter.  An invalid milestone is a task that is marked as a milestone in Microsoft Project but has a duration assigned.  A milestone task recognizes a significant event or deliverable and has a zero duration.

Since Microsoft Project allows you to mark a task (even if it has duration) as a milestone, this is a quality gap that can appear in some schedules.  Instead of marking a task with duration and resources assigned as a milestone, it is better to create a separate task with a zero duration and link the two tasks.  This way a clean set of milestones can be generated.

Microsoft Project Schedule Quality Tutorial: Invalid Milestone Custom Filter

Follow these steps to build your Invalid Milestone Filter

  1. Go to View – Filters – New Filter.
  2. Rename the filter to “Invalid Milestones”
  3. Add the “Milestone field equals Yes”.
  4. Add “And Duration is greater than 0d”.
  5. Click the checkbox “Show related summary rows”
  6. Click Save

microsoft project custom milestone filter

If you prefer, you can uncheck the Show related summary rows box to just get a list of tasks.  I like seeing the hierarchy of preceding tasks since it gives some context to the problem task.  Below are the results of the filter.

microsoft project tutorial schedule quality invalid milestones

Its a simple quality check the identifies invalid milestones.  Go ahead and either adjust the duration to zero or create new tasks and link them so one represents the actual task and the other is a valid milestone.  Once your schedule is fixed, clear the filter and let’s move on to our next project schedule quality check and find all the tasks with missing baselines.

Photo Credit: Frédéric Minne

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