Stage-Gate (Cooper)

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Managing product development. Explanation of the Stage-Gate model of Robert G. Cooper. ('88)

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What is the Stage-Gate model? Description

The Stage-Gate method from Robert G. Cooper is an approach that can be used to make the product development process more effective. It is a blueprint for managing the new product process. From an idea to launching a product. In a number of predetermined steps, or stages. Each stage consists of a set of certain cross-functional and parallel activities which must be successfully completed prior to obtaining management approval to proceed to the next stage of product development. The entrance to each stage is called: a gate. These gates, which are normally meetings, control the process and serve as:

  1. Quality control
  2. Go / Kill check-points. Readiness-checks, Must-Meet criteria, and Should-Meet criteria.
  3. Marker for action plan for the next phase.

Stage-Gate is a registered trademark of Product Development Institute Inc.


Origin of the Stage-Gate methodology. History

The method is based on the experiences, suggestions and observations of a large number of managers and firms in over 60 cases as observed by Robert Cooper. The term "Stage-Gate" first appeared in an article by Cooper in The Journal of Marketing Management, 3, 3, Spring 1988. An even earlier version can be found in Cooper's book: "Winning at New Products", 1986.


Usage of Stage-Gate. Applications

  • Product Development, Innovation.
  • Component of Portfolio Management.

Steps (stages) in the Stage-Gate model. Process

The Stage-Gate process is preceded by a Discovery stage, which was added in a later version of the original model which had only 5 phases. It contains pre-work designed to discover opportunities and to generate new ideas.

  1. Scoping. A quick, preliminary investigation of each project. Provides inexpensive information by desk research to enable narrowing the number of projects.
  2. Build the Business Case. A much more detailed investigation by primary marketing and technical research. The business case must include a product definition, a product justification and a project plan.
  3. Development. A detailed design and development of the new product, along with some simple product tests. Also a production plan and a market launch plan are developed.
  4. Testing and Validation. Extensive product tests in both the marketplace, the lab and the plant.
  5. Launch. Beginning of full production, marketing and selling. Market launch, production / operations, distribution, quality assurance. Post-Launch Reviews are performed.

In reality, it is necessary to drill down further into the sub-activities to provide detailed and operational instructions for the innovation team.


Robert G. Cooper's Stage-Gate model

Strengths of Stage-Gate methodology. Benefits

  • Well-organized innovation can be a source of competitive advantage.
  • Accelerated product development. Necessary because of shortening product life cycles.
  • Increased success chance of new products. Prevents poor projects early and helps to redirect them.
  • The model breaks down the complex innovation process in large corporations in a number of smaller pieces.
  • Provides overview, which enables prioritization and focus.
  • Integrated market-orientation.
  • Cross-functional. Involves input and participation of employees from various functions in the organization. No separate R&D or Marketing Stage. But see above Discovery.
  • Can be combined with various performance metrics, such as Net Present Value, etc.

Limitations of Stage-Gate. Disadvantages

  • Although within a stage activities can be conducted in parallel, the Stage-Gate approach is basically sequential (waterfall). Some innovation experts believe that product development should actually be organized in parallel, using loops.
  • The original Stage-Gate framework did not deal with the Discovery process and the activities to create new ideas.
  • A tension exists between organizing and creativity. Both are very important within innovation.

Book: Robert G. Cooper - Product Leadership - Pathways to Profitable Innovation -




Stage-Gate Forum (15 topics) Help
  Stage Gate Models Need to Be Quantified and Be Made Measurable  - Stage gate model results are too qualitative: what gets measured, gets done!
Strat/Assess can be used as a version of and in combination with the Robert G.Cooper Stage-Gate Model and aligns with the Bell-Mason Diagnostic for:
1. New busines...
     
  Iteration in Stage-Gate Model (Dr Cooper)  - This model is good for new product development but its execution appears to be sequential in nature.
(How) is the idea of iteration incorporated in the model?...
     
  Stage-Gates are Not Limitative  - The stage gate model is a widely used model, not only for product innovation but also for all projects. It is part of the Prince2 project management method.
Note that the the phases and number of gates are...
     
  Stage-Gate Process for Quality  - Has anyone applied the stage-gate process in an actual new product development for the specific purpose of improving product quality and customer satisfaction? What were the results?...      
  Involving End Users in the Innovation Process  - Is it reasonable to involve end users in the innovation process within the company (during product development) at all the stages of the Stage-Gate model?...      
  My Views on Innovation in Countries  - 1. The political leadership has the major say to promote innovation since it controls the environment, and environment is the first thing which gives scope for development of innovation.
2. Depending on the political leadership the drive for inn...
     
  A Good Time to Innovate  - I am not surprised that innovation has become a dominant buzzword in the world of business today. The time to try out new ideas and new and simplified ways of doing things cheaper, faster and better is now. Now that we are faced with world eco...      
  Students' Lack of Innovation  - Many students simply study study study.
Many students coming out of school have simply done what the instructor told them to do; none of them are given a chance to show any initiative; many of them cannot do anything without specific instruction...
     
  Innovation in Emerging Economies  - How do we create an enabling environment for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in emerging economies?...      
  Innovation Leadership  - The main challenge to improve innovation is how to develop leaders which stimulate and sustain innovation instead of just looking at the bottom line figures.
An innovative culture is the consequence of the behaviour and decisions of the l...
     
  Tip: 10 Red Flags for Innovation  - Interesting statement for discussion in Business Week:
"There's no surefire way to guarantee success in innovation".
Stefan Lindegaard offers 10 helpful suggestions or common pitfalls to avoid." Very recognizable I think:
...
     
  Innovation Vs. Improvisation  - What separates innovation from improvisation?...      
  Estabish a Distributed Innovation Group  - In an article entitled "Teaming Up to Crack Innovation and Enterprise Integration, James Cash, Michael Earl and Robert Morison suggest to establish a Distributed Innovation Group (DIG) to deal with the problems of harvesting innovations, alloc...      
  Ten Commandments for Intrapreneurs  - Besides a staged innovation process, intrapreneurs are also important in successful innovation. Norman Macrae used the term intrapreneur for the first time (in a survey called “The coming entrepreneurial revolution” in the Economist, December 25, 197...      
  Agenda for Stage-Gate Meeting?  - What is the draft process for a Stage-Gate meeting?...      



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