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More thoughts about Stage-Gate®


We often hear that Stage-Gate ® equates to Phase Gate and that it is tied to development. If you search Wikipedia, you are directed to something called the Phase Gate Process. The article explains it as "a phased approach for making investment decisions" but then cites Phase Gate as something NASA created for development and defines Stage-Gate ® as a variant of Phase Gate. According to Wikipedia, "Phase Gate processes are often called front-end loading or big design upfront" processes, but this really isn't the case. In today's episode, I share my perspective of Stage-Gate ®, from its upfront parts to development, launch, and retirement. I highlight the people you need in a stage gate to make effective decisions and why determining the decision to make is vital. I explain the stages of a classic Stage-Gate ® model, including phase 0, scoping, building the business case, development, testing and validation, and product launch. I explore how you might stifle creativity and flexibility, whether development should occur before or after the market assessment and business case, and how to determine when you are ready for testing and validation. I also share why it used to be rare that products would get killed or put on hold during or after the testing and validation stage and how that changed when the coronavirus hit, when many products that were due to launch no longer had a market or would be insensitive to launch.

"Stage-Gate® is mostly about reducing risk. It is not about getting things done." - Paul Heller

This week on Innovation Talks:
  • Why the upfront parts should be lean and about quick screening while dealing with imperfect information
  • How score cards bring order and why Stage-Gate® is not about development
  • Comparing tunnels and funnels and the differences between Stage-Gate® and project management
  • Why the gate is the most crucial part of the process and the governance of who should be involved in making decisions
  • The elements that make good portfolio management
  • How the decision of a single product release to the market is often a portfolio decision
  • The parts of a Stage-Gate® model and where - and where not - to take a heavy approach
  • What happens after a product launch and why the portfolio process should be extended to cover products in the market
Resources Mentioned:

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