What is the Phase Gate Process, and what are best practice online software tools and templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of the Phase Gate Process
Managing Innovation Phases and Gates is an approach to innovation management in which a new initiative is divided into specific stages separated by decision points along the way. Each stage in the process is delineated by “gates” which are used to evaluate an idea based on criteria specifically appropriate for that stage of development. The Phase Gate Process has become a business standard for product and service innovation management, and many different tools and templates now exist to support the process.
Description of the Phase Gate Process
The Phase Gate Process describes the steps or stages of an optimal new product process. Also referred to as involving “Stages and Gates”, the approach involves establishing a number of “gates” that are linked to specific decision-criteria that are used to evaluate ideas. Ideas that meet the criteria pass through the gate and move to the next phase of development. At each stage, approval must be granted before moving on to the next stage of product development. To obtain approval at each stage, specific cross-functional activities must be successfully completed or specific metrics achieved.
The traditional Phase Gate Process has five phases with four gates:
- Idea Generation
- Proof of Concept
- Business Case
- Development Plan
Each stage is preceded by a gate or go/kill decision point. If the the previously agreed-upon deliverables have been met, and management agrees to continue with the project, the team would also secure the necessary resources for the next stage of development.
The benefits of the Phase Gate Process include the ability to identify problems and fix them before the project gets too far along. It can help minimize risk including reduce costs, increase speed to market, and improve the end-user experience.
Innovation Process Video Overview
Innovation Process Overview - Phases, Stages and Gates
Tools & Templates
Many organizations use simple tools like Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations to manage their Innovation Stages and Gating Processes. While Phase Gate is a process model in itself, other tools and templates can be used throughout the process. Some specific tools and techniques that are often used during the process include Discovery Driven Planning and Design Thinking. An increasing number of software tools have been introduced that provide standardized templates for managing the process online.
upBOARD's Process Software Tools & Templates for Managing Innovation Stages and Approval Gates
Unlike most traditional Stage Gate templates in MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, upBOARD’s online Phase Gate Process management tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin collaborating with our templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
Agile Innovation Process, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Open Innovation Process, Painstorming, Rapid Prototyping, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, and Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model.