Stage Gate Model: Robert G. Cooper
Introduction
The Stage-Gate® model describes how a firm should structure its product development process using a sophisticated system of project phases and milestones. The product development process is seen as one of the key factors that determine the success of new products. The Canadian academic, Dr. Robert G. Cooper, professor of Industrial Marketing at McMaster University’s Business School, in Hamilton, Ontario Canada, published the model in 1986.

The Stage-Gate model sees product innovation as a clearly defined process. The model’s objective is to increase the quality of product innovation by focusing on the process rather than the product.

Stage-Gate consists of a number of:

STAGES ::

where the innovation process is sub-divided into a number of stages or periods where work is performed - preferably by multidisciplinary product development teams.

GATES ::

the gates or mile stones consisting of a set of specified deliverables and criteria that are placed as quality control checkpoints between each of the gates.

A progress review in the form of a gate has as output a decision (go forward, kill the project, put the project on hold or redo the current stage) and a clear path forward for the next stage. As a product moves through its development process towards market launch, each concurrent phase will require more resources from the organisation. But because the insight in the risks becomes greater with the passing of each stage, the risk of the product innovation project as a whole is reduced.

Cooper’s model assesses five stages:

Stage 1: SCOPING
a quick-scan of the project’s technical merits and market prospects.
Stage 2: BUILD BUSINESS CASE
the critical paper based stage that can make or break the project. Technical, marketing and business feasibility are assessed and result in a business case with three main components: product and project definition; project justification; and a project plan.
Stage 3: DEVELOPMENT
the business case plans are translated into concrete deliverables. The product development activities occur, the manufacturing or operations plan is drawn up, the marketing launch and operating plans are developed, and the test plans for the next stage are defined.
Stage 4: TESTING & VALIDATION
provide validation of the entire project: the product itself is evaluated as is the production process, customer acceptance, and the financial merit of the project.
Stage 5: LAUNCH
full commercialization of the product - the beginning of full production and the commercial market introduction.

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