What are Stage Gates or Gateways? | Summary and Q&A

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July 25, 2019
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Online PM Courses - Mike Clayton
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What are Stage Gates or Gateways?

TL;DR

Stage gates are formal control mechanisms that ensure project progress, governance, and decision-making based on two key questions: Have we completed the current stage properly? Should we proceed to the next stage?

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Key Insights

  • 👋 Stage gates act as formal control mechanisms and introduce good governance in projects.
  • 📽️ They prompt project managers and teams to reflect and understand their projects better.
  • 🗯️ Stage gates test the proposition that proceeding with the project is the right decision, considering changing circumstances or new learnings.
  • 💨 They ensure that projects do not run away with excessive resources or fail to meet objectives.
  • ✋ Stage gates are common in high reliability and high governance projects and programs.
  • 😒 Prince2 methodology in the UK governmental and public sector emphasizes the use of stage gates.
  • 🧑‍🏭 External factors, such as changing legislation or technology, may impact the decision to proceed at a stage gate.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is a stage gate in project management?

A stage gate is a control mechanism that marks the boundary between project stages and ensures proper governance. It requires the project team to evaluate if a stage is completed correctly before proceeding to the next one.

Q: How do stage gates help project managers reflect on their projects?

Stage gates provide an opportunity for project managers to review project achievements, assess if correct procedures were followed, and ensure that all necessary paperwork is in place before moving forward.

Q: Why are stage gates common in high reliability projects?

High reliability projects require strict control and governance. Stage gates help mitigate risks, ensure quality, and continuously evaluate if the project is still viable and aligned with the changing external environment or technological advancements.

Q: What are the two key questions asked at a stage gate?

The first question is whether everything that should have been done in the current stage has been completed properly. The second question is whether there is enough evidence and justification to continue investing resources and effort into the project.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Stage gates are boundary gates that control project progression and introduce good governance in high-reliability projects.

  • At a stage gate, the project team evaluates if they have completed the current stage adequately and if there is enough evidence to proceed to the next stage.

  • Stage gates help project managers reflect on project achievements and ensure that investment of resources and effort is justified before moving forward.

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