The stage and gate methodologies described above work well for next generation products and services developments. As can be seen from the detailed gate questions being asked above, there are times when a next generation project is initiated which relates to building technical or market capability. In this case the stage gate process applies a heavy overhead burden to projects. As such, some companies have built a stage gate light for such a knowledge building project. An example of the questions to be asked and answered at different Stages and Gates of a knowledge building project are shown in the “Stage and Gate Activities for Knowledge Building Projects” series of figures. These are meant to be exemplary questions that would be tailored to a specific company’s needs.

Stage and Gate Activities for Knowledge Building Projects

It cannot be emphasized enough that it is important to use the stage-gate process to productively manage technical programs. Technical leadership has to be careful not to make filling out stage-gate forms too burdensome. There are companies where this has happened. In these cases, the goal switched from completing a commercialized product and generating revenue for the company to just filling out forms to get get a project through the stage-gate process. Paperwork doesn’t generate customer sales, products do!