Choosing Milestones from your Schedule - Best Practices

If your bid is still in the early planning phase, you probably don't have a schedule yet. But when you are in detailed planning, your schedule could be thousands of lines. Whether it is creating something from scratch, or extracting the key activities, how do you create the right milestones in cmBuilder? This article will walk through some ways to choose what milestones you make for your presentation.


How many milestones should I aim for?

It can depend a lot on the context of who you are communicating to and how. If you are handing over images, more than 8-12 usually causes people to glance over too quickly. A video for a bid presentation can be anywhere from 6-40 with good results. For coordination discussions you can go higher than this, where you have the ability to jump around or skip sections completely. It is possible to go up to 200 if you are experienced in cmBuilder and have a complex project, but it is not recommended.


But based on the schedule I have, I need more. What do I cut out?

It is often best to start with the major phases, and then break them down as you find the need for more detail.

  • For sequencing around a building, you would generally want these milestones (results in 6-40):
    • Existing Conditions: 1 milestone
    • Mobilization Phase: 0-2 milestones, depending on complexity or duration
    • Demolition Phase: 0-3 depending on complexity (though demo/reno projects could be 20+ here)
    • Excavation Phase: between 1-10 to cover grade, piles, bulk excavation, detailed excavation, and foundation, depending on what your project entails
    • Erection Phase: about 1 per floor-cycle
      • Usually follow concrete/steel/wood-frame at first, and shift to follow exterior if it is out-of-sync
      • For tall towers, once the pattern is established, you can start to group multiple floors per milestone
    • Interior Phase: Depending on the project, may follow each floor, or can be completely ignored
    • Finish: Usually 1-5 milestones to show surrounding clean-up and the completed building
    • 0-3 slides through for other conditions, such as relocating a crane or office
    • Possibly up to 6 slides if you need to slow down and show a specific sequence or operation at one point in the project
  • If you are creating an image deliverable, you don't need to display all of this, though you may still want to for planning purposes
  • If you are creating a coordination file to communicate to the site team or trades, you may want to go into more detail than this, as people may glance over the overview, and drill into a specific area. This is similar to how some experts use PowerPoint presentations - they have 8 slides, and an appendix of 80 slides to answer questions as they arise.

note that for scenarios that are not single-tower buildings, the above does not directly apply. However, it can still be used for general guidelines on how to prioritize your milestones.

How to leverage schedule import?

When going through the schedule, it is best to start with bringing in just a few milestones from your file, and then add more as you see them needed. If you bring in too many tasks in your first-pass, it might be hard to get it to align to your visualization plan.

It is mainly advised to use the end dates of key activities for your milestones, because that is when the work is done that you will want to display. However, there are some key activities that you may want to grab the start date of, such as excavation and concrete pouring, where you have to bring heavy machinery onto site.

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