Phase Gates in Project Management.
Project managers: Have you ever felt guilty of missing a phase gate? Did that ever happen to you? A very small or rare percentage of PM’s encounter this state, because they are very diligent on their plans and following the SDLC process for the organizations. The entry and exit criteria of a phase are vital for the success of any project.
Gates are defined for an infrastructure project vs a health care reform project. And again it could vary from coming on a fixed schedule vs fixed budget projects. And furthermore, can differ from waterfall vs agile methodology or framework.
Gates, in essence, are something that defines your entry and exit criteria from each phase to the other. PMBOK defines five main phases of any project: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Control, Closing. But the phases can vary depending on the process and domain of an organization.
The same can be easily understood from this visual below. You can see that a Gate is more like a Decision point, it reduces risk, increasing monitoring. Because at each stage of the Gate process, moving from one phase to the other, we are looking at the entry and exit points and making sure all the approvals are complete and the necessary deliverables are complete. We are also comparing and making sure the deliverables are complete with the project plan tasks.
Keep in mind, the following when you are working on Gate entry and exit criteria
- Following the Phase Gate entry and exit criteria is a MUST for a successful passing of one stage to the other in any project.
- Completing every checkpoint of each gate will enable better monitoring and lower risk for any project.
- Easy to ensure the deliverables are done per the project plan(tighter monitoring and controlling)