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Implementing a Stage-Gate Process for R&D and Innovation Projects - Challenges and Enablers

Johannesson, Emilie LU (2016) INTM01 20161
Innovation Engineering
Abstract
Few studies have been made on challenges and enablers with implementing Stage-Gate processes in mature organizations. The aim with this thesis, is therefore to fill the gaps in knowledge within implementation of Stage-Gate processes and additionally describe the general challenges and enablers with Stage-Gate processes for R&D and innovation projects.
PaperCo, a mature international organization in the paper industry initiated implementation of a Stage-Gate Process during 2015. Thus, PaperCo wish to evaluate how well the model is suitable for their Paper Division and how it should be designed, in order to be a helping tool for their projects within R&D and innovation.
The purpose of this study is therefore, to describe challenges and... (More)
Few studies have been made on challenges and enablers with implementing Stage-Gate processes in mature organizations. The aim with this thesis, is therefore to fill the gaps in knowledge within implementation of Stage-Gate processes and additionally describe the general challenges and enablers with Stage-Gate processes for R&D and innovation projects.
PaperCo, a mature international organization in the paper industry initiated implementation of a Stage-Gate Process during 2015. Thus, PaperCo wish to evaluate how well the model is suitable for their Paper Division and how it should be designed, in order to be a helping tool for their projects within R&D and innovation.
The purpose of this study is therefore, to describe challenges and enablers with implementing a Stage-Gate Process in a mature organization for R&D and innovation projects.
To answer the research question stated in this thesis, a literature review and a single case study at PaperCo was undertaken. The case-study consisted of nine in-depth interviews with employees at different positions mostly within PaperCo’s Paper Division and two observations of workshops regarding the implementation of Stage-Gate at PaperCo.
The findings, from this study, suggests recommendations regarding challenges and enablers most important to address, when implementing a Stage-Gate process. The five general challenges found are employee acceptance, cross-functional engagement, definitions and guidelines for Gate-Keepers, flexibility and scalability and allowance for creativity and innovation projects. The five general enablers found are the process structured approach with transparent overview, enhanced and simplified communication, improved risk-management, support for feedback and motivation and more effective reporting and review writing. The proposed recommendations to PaperCo is to involve employees in the change, aim for cross-functional teams, consider the Stage-Gate process effect on creativity, develop clear guidelines for Gates and Gate-keepers, allow the Stage-Gate to be flexible and scalable and allow a pilot period and measure the changes. (Less)
Popular Abstract
How should a Stage-Gate model be implemented, for R&D and innovation projects, in a mature organization?

As a result of a case-study at PaperCo combined with a literature study, five main challenges and enablers when implementing a Stage-Gate process was discovered.

Implementing organization change in a mature organization is a challenge well described in theory. Nevertheless, mature organizations need to change in order to stay competitive on the global market. PaperCo is a mature organization within the paper industry and decided in the end of 2015 to implement Stage-Gate processes at all their five divisions. Their aim was to have a common project language and more structure and control over their projects. To solve their... (More)
How should a Stage-Gate model be implemented, for R&D and innovation projects, in a mature organization?

As a result of a case-study at PaperCo combined with a literature study, five main challenges and enablers when implementing a Stage-Gate process was discovered.

Implementing organization change in a mature organization is a challenge well described in theory. Nevertheless, mature organizations need to change in order to stay competitive on the global market. PaperCo is a mature organization within the paper industry and decided in the end of 2015 to implement Stage-Gate processes at all their five divisions. Their aim was to have a common project language and more structure and control over their projects. To solve their problem and to fill gaps in theory, regarding implementing Stage-gate processes in different organizational settings, this thesis research question was formulated: “What are the main challenges and enablers when implementing a Stage-Gate process for R&D and innovation projects in a mature organization? “As a result of the combination of a literature study and empirical research at PaperCo, five main challenges and five main enablers was found. The five main challenges are: employee acceptance, cross-functional engagement, definitions and guidelines for gates and gate-keepers, allowance for creativity and innovation in projects and flexibility and scalability. The five main enablers are: the structured approach with a transparent overview, enhanced and simplified communication, improved risk-management, support for feedback and motivation and more effective reporting and review writing. The Stage-Gate Process was first presented in the mid 1980: s by Robert G Cooper and is a blueprint for product development. The development process is divided into a predetermined set of stages, normally between 3-7 stages and between each stage is a decision-gate. Responsible in the gates are senior managers, referred to in the Stage-Gate model as Gate-keepers. The Gate-keepers task is to define if a project will receive a Go/Kill/Hold or Recycle decision. Go implying the projects will continue, Kill the project will be terminated and, Hold or Recycle implying the project will be paused or sent back to a previous stage. An important factor of the Stage-gate process is cross-functional teams. During each stage or gate, the involved team needs to have cross-functional expertise, the mix is important to keep the speed in the process high and to decrease the risks of a one-sided focus. The Stage-Gate process at PaperCo have many similarities with Coopers model, however some differences exist. For example, their gate-criteria, involvement of cross-functional teams, early customer focus and review guidelines. The five found enablers covers PaperCo’s objectives with implementing a Stage-gate process and can as well provide them with an improved risk-management, support for feedback and motivation and more effective report and review writing. In order to support PaperCo with the found challenges, a suggestion for each challenge was contributed to the case-company. The first challenge, employee acceptance can be reduced by involvement of employees and extensive communication of the changes. To solve the second challenge, cross-functional engagement, the proposed suggestion is to aim for cross-functional teams and improve the organizational learning. The third, guidelines for gates and gate-keepers, can be helped by iterative work to develop suitable guidelines for gates and gate-keepers. The fourth challenge, flexibility and scalability can be reduced by an open mindset towards modification and scalability. Finally, to solve the fifth challenge, allowance for creativity and innovation in projects, a recommendation is to notice, in the long term, if the Stage-Gate process influences creativity and innovation in projects. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Johannesson, Emilie LU
supervisor
organization
course
INTM01 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Innovation management, Stage-Gate processes, R&D and Innovation projects, Mature organizations
language
English
id
8884459
date added to LUP
2016-06-23 09:47:43
date last changed
2016-06-23 09:47:43
@misc{8884459,
  abstract     = {Few studies have been made on challenges and enablers with implementing Stage-Gate processes in mature organizations. The aim with this thesis, is therefore to fill the gaps in knowledge within implementation of Stage-Gate processes and additionally describe the general challenges and enablers with Stage-Gate processes for R&D and innovation projects.
PaperCo, a mature international organization in the paper industry initiated implementation of a Stage-Gate Process during 2015. Thus, PaperCo wish to evaluate how well the model is suitable for their Paper Division and how it should be designed, in order to be a helping tool for their projects within R&D and innovation.
The purpose of this study is therefore, to describe challenges and enablers with implementing a Stage-Gate Process in a mature organization for R&D and innovation projects.
To answer the research question stated in this thesis, a literature review and a single case study at PaperCo was undertaken. The case-study consisted of nine in-depth interviews with employees at different positions mostly within PaperCo’s Paper Division and two observations of workshops regarding the implementation of Stage-Gate at PaperCo.
The findings, from this study, suggests recommendations regarding challenges and enablers most important to address, when implementing a Stage-Gate process. The five general challenges found are employee acceptance, cross-functional engagement, definitions and guidelines for Gate-Keepers, flexibility and scalability and allowance for creativity and innovation projects. The five general enablers found are the process structured approach with transparent overview, enhanced and simplified communication, improved risk-management, support for feedback and motivation and more effective reporting and review writing. The proposed recommendations to PaperCo is to involve employees in the change, aim for cross-functional teams, consider the Stage-Gate process effect on creativity, develop clear guidelines for Gates and Gate-keepers, allow the Stage-Gate to be flexible and scalable and allow a pilot period and measure the changes.},
  author       = {Johannesson, Emilie},
  keyword      = {Innovation management,Stage-Gate processes,R&D and Innovation projects,Mature organizations},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Implementing a Stage-Gate Process for R&D and Innovation Projects - Challenges and Enablers},
  year         = {2016},
}