Milestones Professional 2002

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, send e-mail
Published by: KIDASA Software, Inc., go to the web site
Requires: Windows 95, 98. 98SE, NT4, Windows 2000, XP
MSRP: US$229.00 (electronic upgrade $79)

The original idea for KIDASA's Milestones software came while founder Susan Butler worked at Lockheed's Austin Division. She spent more than one late evening helping highly-paid engineers put together their presentation-ready milestone charts for their next-day briefings. Since project management software of the day didn't offer the presentation qualities required, engineers and manager resorted to using CAD software, graphic designers and PC-based drawing packages. Tedious and extremely time-consuming. Big deal. Who cares. Everybody works hard, right?


Multi-national companies such as JD Edwards (specialists in project management solutions) have grown to massive proportions over the past 20 years in particular because assembling the details of a project while keeping your eye on the big picture is much like putting together a complex jigsaw puzzle. You need a guide to know how those pieces should fit together in this day and age of extreme project costs and risks. A missing piece or detail spells disaster. Even for the smallest set of details for the smallest project, some sort of planning and tracking is needed. Small companies become bigger and more successful in part because of good project management. Enter Milestones Professional 2002.

We installed and tested Milestones Professional 2002 on three computers including an older PII/350 MHz with 32MB of RAM running Windows 95, a 700MHz AMD Athlon with 96MB of RAM running Windows 98SE, and a PIII/550 with 352MB of RAM running Windows 2000 Professional. Milestones installed perfectly and ran quite well on all three machines, with no apparent differences in speed of operation while using Milestones. The test projects we used were duplications of a) an existing 8 month software development project, and b) an existing, fairly large demolition and construction project. Both original project schedules had been created in Microsoft Project 98 and 2000. They were imported into Milestones Professional 2002 using its conversion wizard. We encountered only minor issues resulting from the manner in which Milestones condenses MS Project layouts and data. The time required to completely convert and check both projects amounted to a total of only 90 minutes.

Kidasa Software has been beavering away to produce a large number of improvements and enhancements which make Milestones Professional 2002 quite distinct from previous versions: outline task color shading (in addition to a lot more color control in every other area), dozens more presentation options, smart status indicators which can be customized in each area of any project, a lot more value categories per graph (up to 8 value sets per graph), up to 20 outline levels, and dozens and dozens of new and updated templates.

Users will find joy in the presentation-ready schedule maker, the ability to share schedules using a freely distributable viewer, generation of Internet-ready web pages, project cost tracking, new indicators for easy reporting, the ability to add schedules to PowerPoint and Word, and the ability to create charts from Project which can be updated when your Project plan changes.

Nice - but is Milestones Professional 2002 a worthy alternative to Microsoft Project 2000 or 2002? We say yes, for most typical applications and for most small to large size projects. The only downside we've ever encountered is some hesitation on the part of people who fear Milestones Professional may not meet a reasonable standard. That fear is a tribute to the fact that Microsoft has done a pre-eminently superb job of making MS Project ubiquitous. Personally speaking, Milestones Pro has always been more stable and easier to use than MS Project.

Cons: Milestones Professional can't do task risk or project risk analysis. Note that while Microsoft Project 2002 does risk analysis, it's not particularly complex. For that you really need one of the many (expensive) risk analysis programs currently available. We recommend using good project management software as a powerful guide however, not a final risk decision maker. In all project management, common sense and informed judgments should rule. Always.

Pros: We really like the smart status indicators. You can set them to automatically update and show the current percentage completed for any task - excellent for quick or at-a-glance reviews. The MS Project to Milestones Pro conversion wizard works well. Resource tracking is now more robust - certainly up to MS Project standards - and as is typical of Kidasa products, easier to use. Milestones Professional 2002 is highly recommended for hands-on managers and planners who want to plan, create, manage, track and assess projects of any size.


Project management through best practices (or at least a vague swipe at best practices) along with decent PM software, continues to command a lot of corporate and small business interest. There are good reasons for all the interest. Herewith, a few tasty links to some comprehensive project management resources:

PM links resources

PM research & information links

Project Mgmt Institute

FatBrain's PM resource center

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