Assessment of back-up plan, delay, and waiver options at project gate reviews

DS 87-2 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 2: Design Processes, Design Organisation and Management, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Olechowski, Alison; Eppinger, Steven; Joglekar, Nitin
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States of America; 2: Boston University, United States of America
Section: Design Processes, Design Organisation and Management
Page(s): 317-326
ISBN: 978-1-904670-90-2
ISSN: 2220-4342


In a staged development process, the planned work is not always complete at the gate review, yet a gate decision must be made. We present a more complete explanation of the reality of gate decision options, with the addition of Waiver (with and without re-review), Back-up plan, and Delay, along with Go and Kill. We also show how it is feasible to extend the simple decision tree modelling approach currently used for the Go/Kill choice to analyze the expected value of the broader set of options available. We demonstrate this new approach with studies from industrial application of the method. These case studies show that it is possible to estimate the parameters needed to conduct the decision tree analysis. Our case work also identifies heuristics that are prevalent in gate decisions. Coupling such heuristics with our decision analysis can formalize the underlying trade-offs and inform decision makers on the risks (or benefits) of waiver, delay, and back-up plan options.

Keywords: Gate reviews, Phase-gate process, Decision making, Project management, New product development


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