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Stage-Gate Process: All You Need To Know About It

Jul 28, 2022

Do you need to execute a project but are unsure of the best approach? That's quite normal.

As a project manager, you should explore different ideas during project management or product development. Hence, you need to find a way to assess your ideas and decide which has the highest chance of success.

This is why the Stage-Gate Process is a vital tool for project managers. We will examine the Stage-Gate Process, its different stages, and why it can be a suitable planning method for your project.

What Is a Project Stage-Gate Process?

Also referred to as the Phase Gate Process, the Stage-Gate Process is a comprehensive project management technique. It consists of different stages that will guide you from beginning to the end of your project.

You and other decision-makers must assess each project stage to ensure it satisfies your goals before moving to the next. It should involve assessing risks, resources, possible outcomes, and business cases. If done correctly, the Stage-Gate Process will give your project a higher chance of success.

Stage-Gate Methodology.

The Stage-Gate methodology focuses on risk analysis, mitigation, and determining the most feasible paths. It also seeks to simplify projects by breaking them down into phases. But despite its simplicity, it relies majorly on information-based decision-making.

When using the Stage-Gate method, you will be moving through the different stages of your project linearly. You won't initiate a new phase until the previous one has been completed and assessed.

The Different Phases of the Stage-Gate Process.

As mentioned, the Stage-Gate Process involves breaking down concepts into several stages. The concepts also go through "gates" upon the completion of each phase for reassessment.

In this section, we will break down the stages of the Phase Gate Process.

Idea Generation.

Idea generation comes before the traditional Phase Gate process. As its name suggests, this is the stage where you and your team conceive the idea for the project.

It can be approached in several ways depending on your company's setup. However, the most common methods include employee brainstorming, market research, industry conferences, customer feedback, advisory boards, etc.

Since your project's success highly depends on the quality of your ideas, you have to take this phase with the utmost seriousness. It will also be beneficial to research how to generate new ideas.


The scoping phase is where the Stage-Gate process fully begins. It involves closely examining a product or project to ascertain its viability.

Some o factors to be considered include cost, duration, demand, competitors, economic conditions, etc. Hence, a SWOT or PETSEL analysis will come in handy.

Build Business Case.

In this phase, the team should give solid reasons for executing the project. A business case can be a written document, presentation, or verbal agreement.

Regardless of its form, it should show the decision-makers the benefits the business will get from the project. It should be well-detailed and rigorous as it is the final phase before development begins.

This phase consists of four steps, namely:

  • Product definition and analysis

  • Business case development

  • Project plan development

  • Feasibility review


After the approval of the business case, the development phase begins here. The team works with the information and resources it has gathered up to this point.

This phase consists of design, tests, and sample creation. The prototype should meet the goals set in the previous phase. Also, the team should do some marketing work in the development stage.

Testing and Validation.

The testing and validation stage follows the development phase. Your team will assess the prototype and the steps to develop it here.

Proper testing is essential to ensure the quality of the product. It will also give the team the confidence to produce the product in a larger quantity. The testing and validation phase includes near, field, and market testing.


The launch phase is the final step. Your team will launch the finished product here, so it should satisfy all requirements in the Stage-Gate model.

At this point, the company should already have a solid marketing strategy for the product to ensure that it reaches its intended customers. The team should also be prepared to solve any issue after the launch. Customer satisfaction can be guaranteed this way.

What Happens in the Gates?

This section will examine what happens as the idea passes through each gate.

Quality of Execution.

Before the work done in each phase is approved to move to the next one, it has to meet some standards. It could be halted if it fails to meet these criteria.

Business Rationale.

The decision-makers must assess the business rationale as a project moves through each gate. This assessment ensures the project is still on course to achieve the company's goals. If the decision-makers discover an issue at this point, it may not be approved to move into the next phase.

Action Plan.

This is the final assessment before a project is approved for the next stage. The decision-makers need to ensure that there are sufficient resources for the completion of the project. Without adequate resources, the company might have to delay the continuation of the project.

What Happens After a Gate Assessment?

The decision-makers can make five possible decisions after assessing the work done at a gate. These decisions are:

  • Go: This means a project is approved for the next phase. However, the work done at the previous gate must meet the company's criteria for this to happen.

  • Kill: This means that a project should come to a halt. The decision-makers make such a decision when a project is desirable.

  • Hold: Sometimes, a company may delay a project for some time. The delay may be due to the absence of the necessary resources or other reasons.

  • Recycle: Recycling occurs when the decision-makers aren't entirely happy with the work done in a phase. The team will have to do extra work for the project to move to the next phase.

  • Conditional Go: This decision means a project has conditional approval to move into the next stage. Hence, it must meet certain conditions in subsequent stages.

Who Should Use the Stage-Gate Process?

The Stage-Gate process is ideal for large organizations and complex projects. This project management technique allows teams from different departments and locations to work together on a project efficiently. It also enables project managers to break down complex projects into smaller sections.

Benefits of Using the State Gate Process.

Top organizations utilize this project management technique due to its several benefits. Here are the significant advantages of using the Phase Gate process for your project:

Risk Assessment.

The Stage-Gate process allows project managers to assess risks throughout a project's lifecycle. You will be able to identify possible problems early and make the necessary decision as the project passes through each gate.

Progress Assessment.

When using the Stage-Gate process, you will be able to monitor the progress of your project from start to finish. You will also be able to keep tabs on the performance of your employees and offer guidance when necessary.

Increased Collaboration.

Collaboration is essential for the success of any project. However, this can be hard to achieve when the team members are in different locations and departments. The Stage-Gate process can help you boost collaboration regardless of the structure's complexity.


Another benefit of choosing the Stage-Gate process is the amount of flexibility it offers. With it, you will be able to adjust the execution of the project to suit the requirements of your diverse team and business processes.

This project management model also offers scalability. It can be adjusted to suit both small and large projects. Hence, you will find it helpful in various situations.

Resource Management.

You have to manage resources efficiently for your business to be profitable, and the Phase Gate process can help you in this aspect. It will help you avoid wasting your resources on inviable projects. You can halt any inviable project early and redirect your resources into something more feasible.

Disadvantages of Using the State Gate Process.

All project management techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. Please take note of the downsides of the Stage-Gate process before choosing it for your next project.


One of the downsides of this project management method is that it leaves little room for creativity. A company may place too much emphasis on resource management and, as a result, stifle the creativity of its employees.


Since the team executes different project stages linearly, it can become time-consuming. This can be a problem when swift completion is necessary.

Best Practices for the Stage-Gate Process.

You can take steps to ensure you get the best out of the Stage-Gate process. Check out some best practices below:

Detailed Reviews.

This process can become a box-ticking exercise if you aren't careful. To avoid such a situation, you should ensure that you carry out comprehensive reviews at all gates.

Consult Your Stakeholders.

You must involve the stakeholders in decision-making to get the best results. Notify them of your progress and challenges so that you can make proper assessments together. This will help you make the best decisions.

Be Customer-Oriented.

Your customers should be on your mind from start to finish because the success of your project or product will significantly depend on customer acceptance. Considering the end user's needs through each phase and gate would be best. You can learn more about your customers by conducting market research and gathering feedback.

Presenting a Stage-Gate Process.

When making a Stage-Gate process presentation, you must take all the necessary steps to ensure your audience gets the information you are trying to pass. Follow these steps to learn the best way to present your Stage-Gate process:


It would help if you started your presentation with an engaging introduction. Discuss the idea generation process to give your audience an idea of what the project is all about. After that, you can give them an idea of your approach.

Present the Gates Together.

When you want to show your audience the gates, you should show all the gates in one slide. This is a better approach than showing the gates individually.

Discuss the Milestones and Decision Points.

Tell your audience about the milestones and decision points encountered during the project.

Explain the Results.

Tell your audience about the results achieved at the end of each gate.

Discuss the Outcomes.

Describe the outcome of the entire process. Explain the reasons why the project succeeded or failed. You should also provide other relevant information, such as customer reception and product performance.


Finally, you can end your presentation by mentioning the lessons to be learned from the project. This is important to show your audience what should be emulated and what needs to be improved.

Final Thoughts.

The Stage-Gate process helps project managers identify projects' viability early and manage their resources early. You can download our stage-gate process template to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are the stages of Stage-Gate?

The Stage-Gate process comprises five phases: Scoping, Business Case, Development, Testing and Validation, and Launch.

  1. What is the purpose of the Stage-Gate process?

The Stage-Gate process allows project managers to make the best decisions during a project by assessing the risks, resources, business cases, and possible outcomes at different points.

  1. What is the stage-gate process in product development?

The Stage-Gate process is a product development method to assess a product's viability during its development.

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