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Stage-Gate Model

What is the stage-gate model?

Definition of the stage-gate model

The stage-gate model is a technique used in product development to manage the movement from one phase to the next. Each phase, or "stage", of the project, is separated by a figurative "gate" that prevents you from progressing onto the next milestone without sufficient pause for thought.

When using the stage-gate model in new product development, teams will typically progress through five phases: Discover, scoping, business plan concept, development, testing and validation, launch, and implementation. Each phase plays a crucial role in launching a successful product, and shortcuts throughout the process only serve to add risk and uncertainty to the development journey.

Before moving from one phase to another, teams should decide whether or not the project is ready to progress — avoiding concurrent development. When a gate is reached, teams will have to decide how to move forward, which can be answered by any of the following decisions:

  • Go. This means that the project is a success so far and you're ready to move on.

  • Kill. This means the project is not a success and should be abandoned.

  • Hold. This means the project is not strong enough to continue but not bad enough to be abandoned. Instead, it is put on hold until a better time, typically when more resources are available.

  • Recycle. This means the project has led to positive progress, but that you believe this progress should be invested in another project. Instead of moving forward, the project changes shape.

General FAQ

What is the stage-gate development process?
The stage-gate process is a model for organizing milestones ("stages") in product development. The team evaluates the product at the end of every milestone and decides if it is worth moving on to the next.
What are the stages in the stage-gate model?
The standard stages are stage 0: Discovery, Stage 1: Scoping, stage 2: Business plan concept, stage 3: Development, stage 4: Testing and validation, and stage 5: Launch and implementation.
Who created the stage-gate model?
The idea of breaking a project down into different phases started in engineering in the 1940s. As time went on, gates were introduced to implement a level of quality control in the then-called phase-gate model. It wasn't until the late 1980s that Robert G. Cooper outlined the stage-gate model, which is a refined guideline for the previous phase-gate model.

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