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Leading the Future in Product Development

Gate Keeping Skill Coaching

Leaders who assess summary data from DFSS-enabled teams after each phase of technology and product development fulfill a vital and difficult role often called Gate Keeping.  A common problem encountered by gate keeping teams is how to prevent next-phase problems and delays.  PDSS offers Gate Keeping Skill Coaching and Workshops that will aid in the development of a core competency in gate keeping for a Six Sigma-enabled product commercialization team.

Gate Keepers are defined at two levels:

  • Functional Gate Keepers - mid-level managers and team leaders who oversee design and marketing teams who are creating gate deliverables using Six Sigma-enabled tasks.  Functional Gate Keepers focus on within-project risk accrual and decision-making for a specific project.
  • Business-Level Gate Keepers - executive level managers who oversee the deployment of the various product commercialization projects that form the new growth elements of the product portfolio for a business.  Business-level Gate Keepers focus on across-portfolio risk accrual and decision making for the range of projects under active commercialization.

It is recommended that both types of Gate Keepers attend the training sessions, as well as team leaders, engineers and marketers who will be attending, presenting at, or contributing to gate reviews.

The Gate Keeping program is comprised of an integrated set of workshops that review DFSS tools, methods and best practices from the Design for Six Sigma body of knowledge and phase-gate management processes.  The program enables gate keeping teams to improve their ability to use DFSS-enhanced data sets to fully understand within and across-phase risk accrual.  With this insight, management can make better decisions at functional reviews and formal gate reviews at the executive level.

Gate Keepers at the strategic decision making level will manage the integrated mix of technology development projects and product commercialization projects to meet their corporate growth goals.  Functional managers will use the gate keeping skills to manage risk and make key technical and marketing decisions at the tactical level just prior to the executive level strategic gate reviews.


PDSS' Gate Keeping Workshop delivers the following downstream benefits for technology development and product commercialization leadership teams:

  • Understand the role of a gate keeping team; how to run a rational gate review as a structured, “lean” process (at functional and strategic levels) and how to get the data you need to manage risk for growth
  • Clearly and accurately define when to continue to fund projects, when to reprioritize projects and when to kill projects
  • Develop and apply a tailored system of scorecards to define risk accrual within and between projects in your phase-gate processes
  • Define a set of superior gate requirements and gate deliverables
  • Improved understanding of DFSS tools, tasks and the results they produce


Six Sigma-enabled gate keeping is comprised of the following practice areas:

  • Scorecard design and use – Defining and applying an integrated system of gate review scorecards
  • Gate requirements management – Methods for clarifying and quantifying gate review requirements
  • Gate deliverable definition – Methods and best practices for defining and documenting major gate deliverables comprised of summary results from tool enabled tasks from the technical and marketing teams
  • Gate review process and summary data evaluation – Methods for evaluating summary data that categorizes and clearly defines areas of risk on a phase-by-phase basis
  • Project management – Overview of Six Sigma enhanced methods and best practices for how modern DFSS teams design a work breakdown structure that is aligned with cycle-time constraints, estimated critical path of tasks, using Monte Carlo simulation to forecast cycle time, and percent confidence in staying on schedule
  • Next-phase problem prevention – Methods to proactively identify, track and mitigate problems and risks across each phase of the development cycle
  • Developing a “lean” phase-gate process – Working with your team to define what it means to be lean in your product development process

For information about how PDSS can help improve your formal product development process, see Phase & Gate Processes.

PDSS also offers the following additional services to provide further coaching for your gate keeping teams:

  • Gate keeping coaching and assessment, as well as having a PDSS gate keeping expert consultant serve as an independent, unbiased participant in your actual gate reviews as part of your gate keeping team
  • Gate requirement/deliverable development and/or improvement
  • Phase-Gate tool, task, deliverable alignment and linking to your existing phase-gate process
  • Custom scorecard design (functional and executive)
  • Custom gate review process design