Conducting successful gate meetings

Projects do not always come to their end perfectly executed and delivering all of the benefits described in the Business Case at the advertised price. They should be measured every step of the way to ensure that they are following a plan. Our PMP Exam preparation training and project management training equip us with a variety tools to measure progress against budget, schedule, requirements, quality goals, and budget. The Gate Meeting is the most important tool for proving your project’s success. These meetings are also known as Phase Exit Reviews (by our PMP Exam preparation course), or Business Decision Points.
These are the points where all project stakeholders will decide if your project is meeting expectations, no matter what your organization calls them. This article will provide you with useful tips and tricks to make sure your meetings are successful.
Why do I need gate meetings?
Apart from the reasons listed above, there are two key reasons to schedule gate meetings at key milestones in your project.
Not only do you need to make sure your project is on schedule, but you also need to show your success to project stakeholders and get them to acknowledge that you are committed to the project. This is what gate meetings can do.
The purpose of gate meetings is to validate the Business Case. Your Business Case will change as the project’s scope and budget change over its life cycle. You may have to adjust your Business Case due to changes in the market. Your project’s executive sponsors will validate your updated Business Case at the Gate Meeting. Your PMP Exam preparation training stresses the importance of a current Business Case and validation at these meetings.
When do I need to hold a gate meeting?
Gate Meetings should take place at key milestones in the project’s life cycle. There is no set number of Gate meetings that a project should hold or when they should be held. Each project should have at most two Gate Meetings. One between the Planning Phase, the Build Phase, and one before the project closeout. The first meeting is crucial because it can save the organization a lot of project costs if the Business Case doesn’t justify the expense or the project doesn’t align with its strategic goals. This is the meeting at which the customer will officially accept the products of this project. This meeting should be the catalyst for final payments and formal sign-offs.
Gate Meetings should be held at times when the project can benefit. If you manage a software development project, a Gate Meeting may be necessary between the requirements gathering and the beginning of software development. It could also be beneficial to hold a meeting between the completion and start of QA testing. You will need to hold a Gate Meeting for each iteration of RUP (Rational Unified Process). These are just a few of the places you can hold your Gate Meetings. You will need to create a set of Gate Meetings that are specific to your project.
One final tip: When you look at your Work Breakdown Structure, (WBS), the points at which these meetings should take place should be obvious. If they don’t, this could indicate that you haven’t broken down the project work correctly. The PMP Exam preparation training will teach you the correct process to break down the work. You shouldn’t be afraid of holding too many Gate Meetings. Gate Meeting “burnout” can be avoided by being selective in choosing the invitees for these meetings. We’ll discuss some tips and tricks.