Effective Gated Development – Approach Decision Meetings, Seize Opportunity and Reward Execution

Gated development is designed to improve the way an organisation collectively thinks about its value proposition and advance its ability to develop profitable new projects. However, in practice, it’s common to hear that: “It stops us from paying attention to the real story – the one behind the numbers”, “It’s great for managing routine, but it stifles our more innovative developments” or “We implemented the process to instil a control, yet sometimes it feels like the method is controlling us”.

Similarly, the run-up to review meetings can be very stressful for all involved. Otherwise intelligent colleagues get precious about small details, ‘Entrepreneurial’ managers make-up numbers (to feed the demand for ‘facts’) and, leaders responsible for the go / no-go decisions fail to contextualise their judgments.

Combined, we should not be surprised if we see disillusionment, bad feeling or wounded projects continuing through informal channels. Yet this is not good enough. If these, or similar, symptoms of a broken review process ring true for your business, you’re in danger of losing meaningful oversight and are likely to be spending too long, focusing on the wrong stuff, in the wrong way.

For too many people, Gate meetings have become more like ‘theatres of blood’ than a meeting of minds for the greater good

Prof. Victor Newman.

Whichever collection of terms you use to describe your idea-to-launch process (i.e. phase and decision based development gates), the promise of periodic project reviews is clear – ensure that scarce resources are allocated only to initiatives that provide value to the organisation and redirect, or kill, those that are in trouble.

The reality however, is often very different. Too often the metrics companies choose to evaluate ‘good projects’ leads to predictable results that diminish, rather than enhance, shareholder value.

For example:

  • Routine projects with modest but clear returns, pass through the review stages with ease
  • Innovative projects with the potential for greater returns, but with high levels of uncertainty, are killed because they are perceived as being too risky

In real terms what this means is that, over time, the level of innovation drops dramatically and a lose-lose situation becomes inevitable!

Project teams become wary of projects likely to be killed and senior management lose faith in their review processes (to deliver new, sustainable and innovative growth to the business).

The net result can be the creation of specialist innovation units which serve little more purpose than diverting attention from the real business of growing significant new opportunities.

There is however a more effective way to manage your idea-to-launch process and in an upcoming Innovation Masterclass from Pure Insight, attendees will learn how to address inertia and reduce the fear of failure and that has become all too common with the practice.

find out more at http://gated-development.com