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Feb 15

How to have milestones in Trello?

When you need milestones in Trello, think ‘I need a timeline first’. Since you have no timeline in plain Trello, you need some ‘timeline power-up’ on top of your Trello board. Let’s break the milestones in Trello into pieces: what they are, what they aren’t, do you really need them, and how to have them.

Milestones timeline knight boy

Short answer

Google “Trello Gantt chart”! Check if your power-up of choice has milestones. Now, add the power-up to your Trello and then start adding milestones to the timeline. They are simply one-day long, diamond-shaped tasks, sort of ‘Sb is awaiting sth today’. It’s this simple. But…

Do I need milestones in Trello?

Check yourself for these:

  1. Do you consider yourself ‘a project manager’? If so, you might need milestones.
  2. Do you manage a team of three or more? Again, if ‘yes’, try milestones.
  3. Do you have ‘a demanding boss’? Milestones are all about staying on schedule.
A milestone Power-Up for Trello

A milestone is just a special task. A milestone without a timeline is like an admiral without a fleet. Pictured is the BigPicture Power-Up for Trello.


Is a milestone just a task / Trello card?

Let’s suppose you’re a professional wedding planner. You could name your Trello card ‘Milestone: guests have RSVPed’, meaning that you can start booking a venue, hotel, catering once you’ve “completed” that “task”.

The problem is: milestones were not invented to be completed.

Rather they are there to make it evident that a chain of linked tasks needs to be completed before we ‘are allowed pass that milestone’.

It makes sense to have a diamond-shaped milestone in the near future, ‘approaching quickly’ so that everyone on the project can see it and they feel motivated. This is why you need a timeline: to make it obvious to everyone in a visual manner, that some important thing is 4… 3… 2… and eventually 1 week away and some real tasks, such as designing, printing and sending invitations need to be completed before we can pass that milestone, otherwise the milestone would be delayed.


Is a milestone just a date?

Not quite. For marking fixed dates, such as ‘date of the wedding party’ we use markers—vertical, labelled lines that cross the timeline. Yes, a milestone lasts a single day; nevertheless, it represents some activity in a project, so we need to be able to delay the milestone task. We should also link that milestone with the preceding task with a task dependency.

How do I get milestones in Trello, then?

A timeline is crucial for the milestones to make sense. Having a milestone on a Trello board itself, without a timeline, doesn’t make much sense. To get a timeline, task dependencies, milestones and more, try a decent Gantt chart Power-Up for Trello such as Trello BigPicture. It’s free.

Compare free Gantt charts for Trello here.

Tracking milestones in Trello

To track milestones, simply change their colour to yellow or red. Then change the perspective to ‘Half year’, ‘Year’ or even ‘Bird’s-eye view’, and you’ll suddenly see all the ‘moments of truth’ in your project.

Multiple milestones on Gantt chart in Trello



About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.