May 30, 2019

Milestone Trend Analysis: How to Analyze Your Stage Wins

Milestones mark important dates within a project. The Milestone Trend Analysis (MTA) visualizes whether these dates are met or postponed. In this article, you will learn how to interpret the MTA easily.

Gerald Aquila

Gerald Aquila

277 words • 3 minutes

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What is a Milestone Trend Analysis?

The "colored" lines are, above all, one thing: an essential controlling and early warning tool. The MTA visualizes the defined milestones over time: from the start to the planned end date. Professional software tools create an MTA automatically.


The horizontal axis is subdivided into reporting times, e.g., weeks or months, depending on the average duration of your projects. The vertical axis represents the date of each milestone at each checkpoint. Connecting lines can be used to detect delays early and to derive trends - where appropriate, measures can be taken to ensure compliance with deadlines.

How to Analyze the MTA

What do the various trend patterns shown represented in the MTA mean?

1. Horizontal lines: everything is according to the plan, and the deadlines are met


2. Uptrend or rising lines: delay of the milestone date


3. Non-linear trend: unrealistic milestone date


4. Downtrend or falling lines: earlier completion of the milestone and the planned safety buffer is too large


5. Zigzag trend: usually indicates many uncertainties in the schedule


What Is the Gray Zone?

When a milestone reaches the gray zone, either this milestone has not been reached, or the milestone plan has not been kept up to date.


For an efficient milestone trend analysis, it is crucial to ensure that milestones and their progress are updated and reviewed regularly at pre-defined reporting dates. The trend patterns are meaningful and can fulfill their purpose as an essential controlling and early warning instrument.


Relevant Project Management Terms


A milestone is a verifiable event without duration and activity. The setting of such milestones, or intermediate goals, facilitates project planning and project controlling.

Milestone Trend Analysis MTA  

Milestone trend analysis, also known as MTA for short, is a method used to control the achievement of milestones or adherence to deadlines in a project. The MTA visualizes the defined milestones from the start to the planned finish date. The horizontal axis is divided into reporting dates, for example weeks or months. The vertical axis represents the date of each milestone at each checkpoint. Various trends can be identified when using connecting lines.