The idea-to-launch framework must be flexible and dynamic, responsive to changing conditions and varying circumstance of projects. It cannot be a rigid, lockstep process. Smart companies have built maneuvers into their processes in the interest of flexibility and speed:
• Ask the project team to map out the best path forward for their project, using the standard process as a guide, but not every stage activity or gate deliverable is mandatory.
• Permit combining gates and collapsing stages, or even going back to a previous gate or stage (see Stage-Gate Express later in this chapter).
• Move long-lead-time items forward (for example, instead of awaiting a specific gate approval to order production equipment, certain long-lead-time items can be ordered in advance as long as the risk is recognized).
• Allow overlapping stages. A project team can begin the next stage before the entrance gate even occurs (although taking this practice too far can lead to chaos).
• Use self-managed gates, where the project team makes its own gate decisions rather than wait for senior management to call a meeting.
• Allow fuzzy gates or conditional gates, where projects can be moved ahead conditional on certain future events or future information.14
In addition, recognize that not all development projects are the same size and risk. Lower-risk projects do not need all the activities and stages that higher-risk ones do.
Was this article helpful?
What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.