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Project Management for R&D

Making your overall plan


Step 1. Create milestones

The majority of your milestone will be approved deliverables. Therefore start at your Project Definition template, where you have listed all your deliverables. Duplicate the Milestone card placed in the category divider (Project Definition) – see picture below.


You may have to unlock the red Project Definition divider before you can duplicate the Milestone card template. Click anywhere in the red area and follow the instruction first, if needed.


Milestone card template

Fill in the information as follows:

  • The Card title is the same as the name (what) of your deliverable preceded by the deliverable number

  • Skip the Due date for now. 

  • Click on Assignee and select the person responsible for the deliverable. Remember that the vast majority of your deliverables will have a responsible person from your core team. But the exception to the rule is that it can be someone in your extended or virtual team. If you don't find the name, you have to invite that person to your Miro board. For the time being, you may write Responsible and the person's name under Description.

  • Add a red Tag and write customer/approver whichever terminology your company is using, and the name of the person

  • Add green Tags for each principle for the approval/verification of the deliverable.

Repeat for all your deliverables.

Estimated number of hours to produce the deliverable

Number and name (What) of the deliverable

Principle for approving/verifying the deliverable (can be several criteria)


Person responsible/accountable for the deliverable

Latest date for the deliverable to be approved/verified

Customer/approver of the deliverable

Add/remove tags

Add responsible

Set due date

2. Move your Milestones

Move your Milestones to the Overall Plan. Select the Milestones with your cursor and right-click to copy.

3. Dimensions in the Overall plan

Move your Milestones to the Overall plan template. Go to the Overall plan template and use the command ctrl+v.

Now decide and add your Project Dimensions. The Project Dimensions are used to avoid sequential work, highlight important areas in the project, and describe the project's cross-functional character. It is a powerful way to reduce the lead time, avoid late changes and simplify the breakdown into Detailed plans later. Some examples:

  • project administration

  • market

  • finance

  • technology

  • product development

  • software or hardware

  • customer value creation

  • cloud solution

  • app development

  • team management

  • production

  • legal requirements

  • knowledge.


4. Place your milestones

Place your milestones in the right Dimension.


5. Plan from the start-to-end

Walkthrough the project from the start-to-end and check that all the milestones come in a logical order. This exercise is simplified by creating a moveable timeline from a Shape, a narrow rectangle going from the top to the bottom of your board (Shapes are available on the toolbar on the left side of the board). Check for gaps, missing deliverables, and milestones. Add new milestones to the board if necessary. Make a copy of all new milestones and move them to the Project Definition board. You have to go back later and include them in your list of deliverables.


6. Plan from the end-to-start

Repeat the exercise from step 5, but start at the end. You will most likely find that some milestones come in the wrong order or some milestones are missing. Make a copy of all new milestones and move them to the Project Definition board. You have to go back later and include them in your list of deliverables.

7. Introduce your stages

If you follow a Gate Model, introduce your Gates using a Shape, a narrow rectangle going from the top to the bottom of your board. If you are not following a Gate Model, divide the project into several stages. Remember that each stage shall contain a full Deming circle (Plan-Do-Check-Act).

8. Move Milestones to the right stage

Check the logic and move milestones to the correct side of each Gate.


9. Add Due date

Open each milestone and add the final Due date. The Due date is when the milestone shall be fulfilled according to your Checklist, principle of verification.

10. Add planning horizon and planning methods

This milestone plan is your overall plan. Each stage may later be needed to be broken down into one or several Detailed plans. The Detailed plans could be a new milestone plan, a simple to-do list, a Scrum board,  a Pert network, or a Gantt chart, or something else. For now, write down the Detail plans to be used and the Planning horizon for each plan.

11. Estimates

Estimate the number of hours it takes to produce each deliverable. How to improve the quality of your estimates and find the Excel file to be used follow this link. 


Use a blue tag or some other color to separate it from the other tags, see the illustration above.

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