Strategic Thinking

Strategy Formulation


Milestone-based Thinking

A Roadmap for Setting Goals and Achieving Strategic Success

Vadim Kotelnikov

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo Vadim Kotelnikov






Here is an example of the Milestone Chart I developed for my main global startup

It guides me through 7 milestones from concept development to targeted
1 billion users.







The Purpose and Benefits of Milestone-based Thinking

The purpose of the milestone-based thinking is to choose the right goals and objectives and  organize yourself to attain them. A flexible milestone-based approach will help you understand, meet, and even anticipate the specific needs of your business – all while making the most of your current technology investments.

Milestone-based thinking can help you organize your activities and your available resources into a logical sequence of steps or stages.  In your role as a manager, milestone-based thinking helps you understand the priorities at each stage of your company’s or project development, operations, and growth. 

Externally, milestone-based thinking helps you communicate to potential partners what you are attempting to do, why it is important, and how each activity contributes to the achievement of the overall goal.



Milestone Events


Brief description of specific activities required for the Milestone

Why is this important?

Required resources


Milestone 1





Milestone 2





Milestone 3





Milestone X





Milestone XX





Milestone XXX





The Goal Achieved









NLP Technology of Achievement: Creating Inevitable Success

→ Set your brain on the milestone-based path toward achieving your goal so that it's working on it all day long.

Vividly imagine that you have already achieved your goal, then walk back and examine the pathway toward your goal. Notice specific milestones and steps on the pathway you took to get there, including all those different elements − the resources, the abilities, the actions, and the people − that led, step-by-step, toward your goal. Model your feelings at different milestones on the way.

→ Go back to the present with a new appreciation for the milestones and steps on the path to your goal... More




Milestone-based Operations and Funding for Start-Up Ventures

Indiaco's Milestone Program

New Product Development Milestones



  1. Microsoft Visual Studio Enterprise Tools

 Case in Point  Microsoft Milestone-based Process Model1

Shortcomings of the Traditional Process Models

The traditional Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) used by many companies is activity- or task-driven. With variations across methodologies, the traditional life cycle typically consists of the distinct phases shown in the following list: Definition; Analysis; Design; Construction; Test; Transition and Migration; Production.

The term "phase" implies that each set of tasks must be completed before the next phase can begin. Typically, different teams handle each phase in the life cycle, and each phase must be heavily documented to allow for a different team to pick up the next phase. As a result, decisions freeze early and flexibility is minimized.

While this model provides a useful way to categorize the types of tasks that occur throughout the development life cycle, it does not recognize or leverage the characteristics of component-based enterprise development.

The major problem with the waterfall process model for component-based development is that it is task-focused rather than process-oriented. This makes it difficult to make the flexible decisions and meet the rapidly changing priorities that are vital to managing an enterprise development project with its multiple components and heavy emphasis on user interface requirements.

Advantages and Characteristics of the Milestone-Based Process Model

Overcoming these drawbacks requires a more flexible, iterative, process-oriented development model. The milestone-based process model is derived from the product life cycle model proven so successful within Microsoft Corporation. It encourages thinking about work in terms of processes rather than tasks. Milestones mark the self-regulation points of these processes.

The four characteristics of the milestone-driven model are:

  • Milestone-based approach. The application development process is driven by external and internal milestones, which are checkpoints to guide the development process.

  • Clear ownership and accountability. The process model connects responsibility for each milestone to the project team roles.

  • Risk-driven scheduling. High risk components of a project are completed as early as possible.

  • Versioned releases. The concept of versioned releases is an important one throughout the systems development life cycle because it impacts how expectations are set and how the entire project is planned and managed.