Undoubtedly you will already have a system of management and/or project reviews already in place. You need to consider how the Gate Reviews in a Stage-gate NPD process will fit in with those so that information flows correctly and efficiently, meetings are not duplicated, but neither are they disconnected.
It is not uncommon for there to be regular monthly project reviews and typically these will be review project progress and any major issues, so why do we need Gate Reviews as well, or should the Gate Reviews be instead of the regular monthly reviews?.
In a monthly review, often a number of projects will be reviewed in the one meeting, so the time spent on each project can be minimal, perhaps as little as 10 minutes. A Gate Review will typically cover more ground, but it is more than just a bigger version of the monthly review.
It is a stake in the ground at the end of a stage and serves 4 key purposes
- As a quality control check, just like monthly reviews do, but it has a specific agenda that may cover more items than in the regular review.
- It gives the official go ahead to proceed to the next stage, or to not do so if things are not going to plan.
- It confirms that the resources will be available for the next stage when the project manager wants them (or not, in which case the timescale will be affected).
- It links into the portfolio management system, which is where the priority of all the projects is determined.
In a long project the gates might be 6 months or more apart and a lot can happen in that period, so it is sensible to have regular reviews in the meantime. However in a short project the gates might only be a month apart. In that case unless there is a benefit in having weekly management reviews in between gates, there is an argument for the gate reviews being run instead of the regular monthly reviews, or possibly them being one and the same thing. One point to note though is that the timing of gate reviews is usually set to coincide with milestones in the project plan, and they are therefore unlikely to be at even intervals that would match the schedule of monthly reviews, unless that schedule is flexible, or the gates are unlinked from the milestones.
Please feel free to discuss your situation with us if you want advice on this conundrum. Contact us here.