Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Gate Review
Gate Reviews are conducted to ensure that projects, as they move through their life cycles, are fully complying with relevant project management requirements. Most importantly, Stage Gate Reviews determine that the project is ready to advance to the next Phase.
“Here's the TenStep guest blog post "Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Gate Review":
A stage gate review is a checkpoint at the end of each phase to ensure that all prior work is completed (backward look) and that the project is ready to proceed to the next phase (forward look). Here are some of the actions that need to occur.
1. Review the schedule (backward view)
You should first check that all of the work that should be completed is, in fact, completed. The work should be 100% completed - not in progress or planned to be completed later. The work of the prior phase may or may not have been completed on time, but the work should all be completed by the gate review.
2. Review the costs (backward view)
The project costs of the project so far should be compared against the budget to validate how you are tracking. The gate review takes place when a phase ends - regardless if you are over budget. But the gate review is a time to validate the status of the budget to see if you are over or under budget at this point in time.
3. Review the deliverables (backward view)
The deliverables from the prior phase should be complete and correct, and should all be reviewed and approved. Actually the gate review should never be scheduled if the deliverables in the prior phase are not completed, but you need to perform proper diligence to make sure.
4. Review the risks (forward look)
Risks are in the future so looking at the Risk Register would be away of looking forward to see what types of problems may arise. You should feel comfortable that the project has good risk plans in place to respond to these risks.
5. Validate sponsorship and business case (forward look)
You should make sure your sponsor is still on board and ready to be engaged in the next phase of work. The sponsor should, in turn, validate that the business case of the project still makes sense. If the project is trending over budget or behind schedule the project business case may no longer be viable. Business conditions may have also changed and this could impact the business case.
6. Validate budget and resource availability (forward look)
You want to be sure that the budget and resources needed for the next phase of work will be available. If they are not, you may not be able to proceed, or you may need to change your schedule and approach accordingly.