Project portfolio gating – Overview and Importance
Project porfolio gating provides a process for tracking the performance, value and current relevance of a project or group of projects vis-à-vis the current strategic reality, which is influenced by the organizational and environmental factors. It is critical to the realization of the business strategic goals. Dynamic organizations will assess the viability of projects, in terms of cost and benefits, on a regular basis. Figure 7 shows a typical gating process for the project portfolio management.Each organization may have its own customized version of the gating process. The important thing to know is that gating provides a practical approach to consistently evaluate and validate the credibility, relevance and viability of projects during the product development stages.
Figure 8 shows the gating process specific to the product delivery management, particularly for new products.
The product delivery management gating can be described as follows:
Gate 1 – the initial screening determines the ideas strategic fit.
Gate 2 – the preliminary assessments of the ideas to determine technical and market feasibility.
Gate 3 – the more detailed version of gate 2. The main activity following gate 3 is the design and development of the product and a marketing plan.
Gate 4 – deals with the assessment of the product performance, the likely market acceptance of the product, and whether the degree of the market acceptance is sufficient to justify further development.
Gate 5 – the product is subjected to a test market (laboratory or field test, cash permitting) or pilot. The outcome of the testing or pilot determines the ‘go/no-go’ commercialization decision.Most initiatives or ideas are stopped at the initial stage, a less costly undertaking than stopping the initiatives at a later stage. Gating provides a practical way to prevent committing much resource to projects that may never make it to the commercialization or production stage. Gating can be used to optimize scarce resources, maximize profit or minimize losses.
Other key deliverables for the gating process will be discussed in the project management and product delivery management sections. Business case or marketing plan provides key information for developing other deliverables, mainly project charter and integrated project plan.
Value-added projects are established through effective project portfolio gating.