Swing that Gate! Learn the Essentials of Gate Reviews

Sunday, December 4, 2016, AM | Leave Comment

At the completion of a major project milestone or phase, the team should take a short pause to make sure the project is on track and ready to proceed.

This is a gate review and it includes taking a backward look to make sure all the things you have completed all the things you should have.

Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Gate Review

The backward look includes the following:

  • Deliverable approvals

    You should make sure that all of the deliverables that need approval have, in fact, been approved. Sometimes this final approval may even take place at the phase gate review meeting.

  • Budget and schedule review

    The project budget should be reviewed to validate where you are within your total budget estimate. Likewise you should look at your schedule to see if you are on time and take corrective actions if necessary.

  • Review project issues

    You should validate that all outstanding issues have been resolved or that there is a plan in place to resolve them.

  • Review project risks

    This is a good time for a risk control meeting. You should validate that your prior risks are being successfully managed. You should also look for any new risks to your project.

Think about the purpose of a gate. You open the gate, step through and move forward. Similarly the most important part of a gate review is the forward look. You need to be sure you are ready to move forward on the project.

The forward look includes the following:

  • Validate schedule and budget estimates

    You should re-estimate the project cost and final schedule to make sure your current estimates for final spending and deadline are still valid.

  • Validate the Business Case

    This is a time to check that the original Business Case is still valid. The gate review is a good opportunity to cancel a project that no longer makes sense.

  • Check that resources are available

    In many projects, the types of resources and skills changes from phase to phase. This is an opportunity to validate you still have the resources required to complete the remainder of the project.

  • Validate your sponsorship

    It is possible that the interest and commitment of the sponsor has waned since the project started. The sponsor may have changed. Use this time to validate the priority of the project with the sponsor and cancel the project if the sponsor is no longer committed.

Once you have validated that all of the prior work is complete, and you have validated a readiness to move forward, you should receive a formal approval to proceed. In other words, the phase “gate” is now open to enter and pass through.

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This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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