Stage Gate® Process

Stage-Gate® is a formalised type of new product development (NPD) process that was developed by Dr. Robert Cooper of the Product Development Institute and who wrote about it in his book ‘Winning at New Products’, first published in 1986.

Since then it has been adopted by numerous companies across the world and has become a standard way of managing the development of new products. In Dr. Cooper’s original version there were 5 stages and 5 gates, but individual companies typically adapt the number of stages and gates and their content to suit their own purposes. Initially it was mainly larger companies that used Stage-Gate, but now it is feasible for SME’s to have a Stage-Gate type process that is tailored to meet their needs.

Stage Gate Processes

Several software tools have been developed over the years to implement the process and make using the process easier for the user.

The purpose of Stage-Gate is:

  • To ensure good quality in the product and project
  • To manage the risks involved, both technical and commercial
  • To provide a standardised basis for comparing different projects in a Portfolio Management System
  • To make sure that resources are allocated to the next stage of the project

The key to a good Stage-Gate process is having effective gates. The concept of splitting a project into different phases and having reviews in between phases has been around for a long time. (See Phase-Gate). However the difference with Stage-Gate is including marketing activities and having gateways with ‘teeth’ that make a Stop/Go decision at the Gate Review.

The danger with this type of process is that it can become overly bureaucratic and slow progress down, with potentially a lot of time being spent on preparation for the gate meetings, compared to actually doing the project.

Thus modern thinking is to try to make the process more flexible, whilst still maintaining sufficient rigour to ensure quality.

If you are an SME, please contact us to discuss how we can help you to improve your product development process.

Stage-Gate® is a registered trademark of Stage-Gate Inc.