Submitted by kshortt on
Looking for suggestions on how to set major milestone dates (e.g. "Go Live", "General Availability") for large software projects. I program/project manage these types of projects for internally used enterprise tools. Senior management wants very aggressive "committed" milestone dates. The actual dates are invariably off by significant amounts (never to the positive side). When these "committed" dates get blown there's hell to pay.
P.S. We "talk" Agile/scrum but are structured and funded for waterfall.
What is your historical trends?
I would start off with looking at the historical trend of milestone misses for your programs. Plan your milestone dates as you have before and add that historical rate as a contingency. From there build up a series of smaller milestones preceding the larger to give you a leading indicator of performance.
The next major hurdle you have to jump is the Agile talk in the waterfall environment. That will only help you get better at predicting performance and make this data easier to mine.