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Stage Gate – Lecture 2 Review Process. © 2009 ~ Mark Polczynski. This Course: Strategic Technology Management. Strategic Technology Planning Scenario Planning Voice of the Customer Intellectual Property Generation Ideation Technology Roadmapping.

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Stage Gate – Lecture 2 Review Process

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Stage Gate – Lecture 2Review Process

Stage Gate - Lecture 2

© 2009 ~ Mark Polczynski

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This Course:




  • Strategic Technology Planning

  • Scenario Planning

  • Voice of the Customer

  • Intellectual Property Generation

  • Ideation

  • Technology Roadmapping

  • Strategic Technology Development

  • Stage Gate Development

  • Stage Gate Review

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  • Scope of This Lecture Set:

  • We focus on technology development,

  • But the same basic principles apply toproduct development.

  • This is about technology development and project review.

  • It is about a system where project review is anintegral part of technology development.

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  • Stage Gate Process:

  • What problem are we trying to solve?

  • Stage gate development process.

  • Stage gate review process.

  • Review process cultural issues.

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New Product Pipeline

Many Low-Impact Products Out

Many Small Projects In

What’s the MAIN Problem We Are Trying To Solve?

Before: Difficult to manage many small projects.

After: Difficult to support many small products.

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New Product Pipeline

Many Small Projects In

Few High-Impact Products Out

What’s do we want to have?

Question: How do we figure out which projects to keep?

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Product Development Stage Gate Process

Stage gate reviews

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Technology Development Stage Gate Process

Stage gate reviews

Where projectsget killed!

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Stage Gate Development Process






Stage Gate ReviewProcess

Stage Gate Concept is Quite Simple…

Put “Stage Gate Review” decision blocks in the process flow…

Our topic

So, how does a Gate work?

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All the Gates work the same way…

At the end of each development stage, you hold a stage gate review to determine if you should: - Continue: Go to the next stage, - Redirect: Go back to the previous stage, - Hold: Put the project on hold, - Kill: Kill the project.

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Purpose of ALL Gates is to create BOTH of these curves:



This is very simple! So what’s the Big Deal?!

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  • Stage Gate Review Execution:

  • Review is usually a meeting. So -

    • How do you make decisions?

    • Who should attend the meeting?

    • How do you organize the meeting?

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How do we decide what the decision will be?- Continue?- Redirect?- Hold?- Kill?

Let’s lookinside of a gate

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Is thisa “good”project?

All information needed?

Whatis itspriority?











Three-Step Decision Process: Ask questions in this order.

Does this project make

business sense:~ Strategically?~ Financially?~ Technically?

Has the team

completed all

outputs in a

quality fashion?

What is the impact relative to other projects?

Are people and money available?

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  • Purpose of Stage Gate Review Meeting:

  • Stage gate reviews…

    • Are business decision meetings

      • Are not project reviews

        • Are not design reviews

          • Are not performance reviews

  • A key advantage of a well-deigned and well-executed stagegate process is that it makes the engineer/technologists anintegral contributor to business decisions.

  • This is absolutely essential in technology-driven businesses.

About picking the projects that will have the biggest impact on your business

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  • Purpose of Gate Review Meeting:

  • Picking “winner” projects and killing “losers”.

  • For “winners”, this is about:

    • Making an investment decision (where to put money),

    • Allocating and committing resources (where to put people),

    • Assessing potential of project (all info needed to make good decision), not quality of project or product,

    • Assessing risk of project (but “winner” may be high or low).

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Suppliers (V):Asking for next project

Executors (R):Running thecurrent project

Customers (V):Receiving next project outputs


Experts (R):Validating project deliverables

Investors (V):Paying* for next project

Who Should Attend the Review?

R = RecommendV = Vote* = “Paying” means providing money and/or peopleNote: a particular individual may play more than one role.

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  • Typical Stage Gate Review Agenda:

  • 20 min.Executor presentation and recommendation –All participants – Silent listening to presentationNo discussion, but clarifying questions allowed.

  • 15 min.General discussion –All participants – Led by non-voting facilitator.

  • 15 min.Voter deliberation –Typically voters only – Led by facilitator.

  • 10 min.Tem briefing on decision and action items –All participants – Led by facilitator.

  • 1 hourYes, this can, and must, be met!

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  • Gatekeeper Rules of Order

  • “Gatekeepers” are the voters at the stage gatereview meeting.

  • If gate review meetings degenerate tovicious attacks by gatekeepers onproject teams…

  • …then before long you won’t have any new projects!

  • To avoid having this happen, gatekeeper rules of order need to be established and enforced (by review meeting facilitator).

Here are some rules…

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  • Gatekeeper Rules of Order – Page 1

  • Gatekeepers must attend review meeting in-person or virtually, or your vote defaults to “Continue”. A substitute may be sent.

  • Gatekeepers must review team presentation before* the meeting.

  • Serious concerns must be communicated to teams before the meeting. No “surprise attacks” allowed in the meeting.

  • No “cross-examination” allowed during team presentations. You are not trying to “break down the witness” in a courtroom.

    • * Typically the project team sends the gatekeepers a stage gateproject report one week before the stage gate review meeting.

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  • Gatekeeper Rules of Order – Page 2

  • Gatekeepers cannot require information outside of the scope of the stage being reviewed (e.g., can’t require Stage B information at Stage A review).

  • Decisions must be made in accordance with the criteria for the gate, not a gatekeeper’s opinion of the project - no “pet projects”.

  • Final vote must be unanimous. Gatekeepers must be willing to negotiate with other gatekeepers to make a decision.

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  • Gatekeeper Rules of Order – Page 2

  • You can “Hold” a project, but you can’t “Hold” a decision. The decision must be given at the stage gate review meeting. “We will get back to you later” is not allowed.

  • “Continue” decision means that money and resources are committed! This is a promise that the team can actually execute the project!

Stage Gate - Lecture 2

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