# Milestone Trend Analysis - The Method

You work with a single diagram. The coordinate axes in this diagram show two different calendars:

On top, on the horizontal (x-) axis: Reporting Dates. This date is the actual date when you draw a trend indicator into the diagram.
On the left side, the vertical (y-) axis: Planned Dates. This date is the estimated date when a milestone is expected to be reached.

Each single Milestone of the project is represented as a Trendline in the diagram. The points on these trendlines are Trend Indicators. A red, diagonal line on the right bottom shows the Deadline. When the trendline of a milestone meets the deadline, then this milestone is reached.

The following diagrams explain by a small project with a period of 3 weeks, how to apply the method in practical work.

You plan the project on Tuesday, 16 January 2018. The first step is to identify and designate four milestones.

The duration of works will be estimated. This results in Planned Dates which you draw into the diagram now, on 16 January.

`Mo. 22 Jan. Start ProjectFr. 26 Jan. MS 1Fr.  2 Feb. MS 2Fr.  9 Feb. Project Finished`
The first step of your project planning is finished now. Each milestone initially has one trend indicator, which is the starting point of the trendline.

The second diagram shows the situation in the project on Thursday, 25 January. This day is the third reporting date. The project started as planned on 22 January, and milestone Start Project meets the red deadline on that day. When the project started, you kept the planned dates for the other three milestones. Their effort estimations have not been changed, and all trendlines are prolonged horizontally.

But today, on the third reporting date, the status of the project has changed:

Milestone MS 1 is reached one day earlier as planned. Its trendline goes down, i.e. on the left, vertical calendar in direction earlier.

The estimated effort to reach milestone MS 2 has increased, and you expect, that this date will be met 4 days later. Its trendline goes up, i.e. in direction later.

In addition also the last milestone Project Finished can only be reached later. You shift this planned date by 3 days, and its trendline also goes upwards now.

The third and last diagram shows the status at the end of the project. Milestone Project Finished was reached on 10 February, and this is also the last of six reporting dates in total.

This diagram now shows at a single glance the difficulties, but also the successful work in this project.
When looking back, four events can be recognized:

1.  During the work on MS 1 it was found, that the effort to reach MS 2 would be greater than initially estimated. Therefore MS 2 was shifted by 4 days to 25 January.

2.  The delay was partly recovered until 29 January.

3.  The horizontal course of trendlines until 5 February confirms that the estimations were correct.

4.  When the project ended on 10 February an additional small improvement was reached.

And these are the unique advantages of Milestone Trend Analysis against all other methods of project management:
• You can apply the method with minimum effort. There is nearly no 'learning curve'.

• It is clearly visible which estimations in the past have been realistic, and which have been too optimistic.

• Corrective actions can be taken as soon as an overrun is detected, and again it is easily visible, if they succeeded.