What are Gateway Rerviews?
Gateway Reviews deliver a “peer review”, in which independent practitioners from outside the programme or project use their experience and expertise to examine the progress and likelihood of successful delivery of the programme or project. Gateway Reviews are a key control for projects and are endorsed by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).
Gateway Reviews are recognized as a fundamental component of a Project or Programme Lifecycle and provide a valuable control in management of projects or programmes.
Gateway Reviews substantially reduce the risk to an organisation of a project not delivering cost-effective and relevant benefits.
General Principles for all Gateway Reviews
- Note: references to “meeting” may refer to a physical meeting, video conference or telephone conference. In exceptional circumstances (and usually only for small projects) a Gateway decision may be arrived at by exchange of e-mails.
- The PM should hold a short briefing meeting with the Gatekeeper & Project Sponsor beforehand, to run through what will be said and to ensure there are no “surprises” on the day. This could be done by telephone.
- Papers should be with all attendees three working days before the meeting to allow sufficient time for reading.
- Attendance from the Project Sponsor and Gatekeeper is essential, otherwise the meeting should be postponed.
- To reach an informed decision, the Gatekeeper and Project Sponsor must read and understand all the papers and be prepared to offer constructive challenge where appropriate.
- The Gatekeeper or Project Sponsor should raise any initial concerns about the quality of the papers with the PM; if these concerns are not resolved to the satisfaction of the Project Sponsor/Gatekeeper, they should contact the programme office.
- The programme office should be able to offer support and guidance to Gatekeepers and Project Sponsors about their respective roles.
- The programme office may review papers to ensure their quality and will contact the PM with any queries.
- The PM chairs the meeting.
- The general format of the meeting is as follows:
- Confirmation of the background and strategy for the project, and confirmation of the scope
- Update on progress to date, including expenditure, risks, issues, dependencies, overall status
- Confirmation of work and expenditure planned for the next stage
- PM’s recommendation (usually this will be that the project continue)
- Comments from Project Sponsor and Gatekeeper
- Confirmation of Gatekeeper’s decision and overall project status
- Following the meeting, the PM ensures that adequate notes are recorded of the decision and the reasons behind it.
Within this format specific information is required at each individual Gateway Review (i.e. from 1 to 5), to support the gatekeeper in making an informed decision.
Further information is set out in the table below as an example of what maybe required at a Gateway Review following a standard project lifecycle.
Refine and Design
Build and Test
|Purpose of Gate – to confirm that…||The project is correctly set up and scoped.
Comprehensive business requirements have been gathered from the relevant stakeholders, using appropriate methods.
Requirements are complete, clear, relevant and affordable.
|The implications of doing nothing have been given due consideration.
An appropriate range of options for delivering a solution has been properly evaluated and a clear recommendation made.
|The change the project is to provide is planned and costed in full detail and will deliver the required benefits on time and within budget.
|The change is ready to be implemented.
Agreement for handover to the business
Appropriate training arranged.
Appropriate back-out plan in place.
|The change has taken place and business is operating as expected.
Follow-on actions are agreed and owned.
Management of ongoing issues is agreed.
Benefits reviews are planned.
The project can be closed
|Stage-Specific Inputs to the Gateway Review||·Definition and Scope
·Equality Impact Assessment (if agreed by Project Sponsor that one is required)
|·Business Options Paper||·Solution Design Specification
|· Implementation Plan
(If required as separate items – otherwise Project Plan)
·Lessons Learned Report
·Benefits Realisation Plan
|Inputs to Gates 1-4
|·Project Plan – evidence that the project is on track and is planned appropriately
·Definition and Scope – evidence that the project is working to its scope and no more or less
·Milestone Plan – evidence of longer term, higher-level planning
·Project Budget – evidence that expenditure to date and planned is within overall budget
·Project Registers (Risk, Issues etc) – evidence that risk, issues etc are being managed effectively; that risks and dependencies do not a constitute an unmitigated threat to or from the project.
|·Project Budget – evidence of overall project cost
·Project Registers (Risk, Issues etc) – risks and issues should generally be closed or should have owners for the period after project closure.
|Outputs from all Gates||A written record of the Gatekeeper’s decision, with supporting notes (a verbatim account of the meeting is not required, but there must be sufficient evidence of the decision and the reasons for it) should be filed with the project documentation.|