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Using Project Management Information System to Enforce Governance on Capital Projects by Implementing Formal Project Lifecycle Stage Gate Management

Using Project Management Information System to Enforce Governance on Capital Projects by Implementing Formal Project Lifecycle Stage Gate Management

Written by Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM

The growing demand for enforcing governance on a project’s delivery, and in particular capital projects, has never been required like what we see nowadays. In addition to enforcing governance into the execution of the different project management processes as it relates to collaboration, document, planning, cost, procurement, contract, revenue, risk, quality, HSE management and others, there is a project governance that relates for making the decision whether the project can proceed as is or must be changed or simply get terminated. To achieve this type of governance, project management best practices recommends the use of Stage Gates. Those stage gates will enforce a formal process for making the decision of “Go/No Go” as it relates to proceeding with the follow-on project stage.

A Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb will enable the organization to map the project life cycle stages and define the deliverables for each stage. A stage cannot be considered as complete until those deliverables are formally submitted, reviewed and approved. An organization could have multiple versions of their projects delivery life cycle depending on the type, size and selected project delivery method. The deliverables at the stage gate can be linked to the source PMWeb record or document that relates to that deliverable. Those could be the project cost estimate, budget, risk register, design deliverables among others. 

PMWeb Stage Gate module will be also used to document the risk assessment needed to be carried out at each stage before it can be considered as closed. The Stage Gate Score tab will be used to detail of all items that need to be checked and verified. It has the option to provide a unique weight and score point for each item. In addition, it provides the option to specify the “Answer” type for each item. Those could be text, value from a predefined list of values, amount, or date, among others.

Although a workflow can be assigned to the stage to review and approve, nevertheless, most organizations require having a formal stage gate review process. Using PMWeb PMIS custom form builder a form will be created for the stage gate review. There could be a separate form design for each stage as the deliverables for each stage will differ. This will expedite the stage gates review and ensure it has been completed as per the set project governance policy and procedure. Similar to all PMWeb modules, documents can be uploaded and attached to the Stage Gate Review form, as well as relevant PMWeb records can be linked. In addition, a workflow will be assigned to formalize the steps for submitting, reviewing and approving the Stage Gate Review form.

The stage gate status report will provide the organization with real-time information to monitor, evaluate and report the performance of each project phase deliverable. The form can be designed in the desired form and format to meet the organization’s reporting requirements.

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