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Accelerate Your Best Projects

Robert G. Cooper

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Perhaps the greatest challenge that users of Stage-Gate® face is making the gates work. “As go the gates, so goes the process,” declared one executive, noting that the gates in her company’s process were ineffectual. In a robust gating system, poor projects are spotted early and killed; and projects in trouble are also detected, and sent back for rework or redirect— put back on course. But as quality control check points, the gates are not very effective in many companies, allowing too many poor projects to proceed. Gates are rated one of the weakest areas in product development with only 33 percent of firms having tough rigorous gates throughout the idea-to-launch process. Further, only 56 percent of development projects meet their sales targets (44 percent do not), which means that gates are not doing their job: too many bad projects and too many projects in trouble are sliding through!