Narrative Guidance on Stage Gate Review Process
There are four (4) Stage Endorsements in the OSCIO Stage Gate Review Process. The OSCIO has latitude in interpreting the stage gate process as it applies to projects undertaken by executive branch agencies and other Covered Organizations.
Stage 1. Origination & Initiation
Work activity during Stage 1 corresponds to a project’s Concept / Origination Phase, where the organization prepares high-level project justifications and plans for internal review and acceptance, and then formally presents project initiation documents to OSCIO for its review and approval. Stage 1 ends when OSCIO provides a digital or written Stage Gate 1 endorsement/approval memorandum (which may contain conditions that must be satisfied).
- Artifacts that support Stage Gate 1 are expected to include, at minimum:
- High-level business case.
- High-level risk assessment.
- High-level project plan.
- Agencies are free to produce and then submit more-detailed project artifacts during Stage 1, which might normally be expected to be produced and delivered during Stage 2 or Stage 3.
- Stage 1 activities support the Agency’s efforts to secure additional funding or oversight support of continued project efforts to prepare a detailed Business Case for the project and to perform additional project planning.
Stage 2. Business Case & IRR
Work activity during Stage 2 corresponds to a project’s Initiation Phase, where the organization prepares and then formally presents the detailed business case, project charter, initial risk assessment, and other project documents to the OSCIO for its review and approval. Stage 2 ends when OSCIO provides a digital or written Stage Gate 2 endorsement/approval memorandum (which may contain additional conditions that must be satisfied).
- Stage 2 should result in State CIO approval of:
- a project's preferred solution approach (part of the project's business case)
- business and functional requirements that can support a formal Request For Proposals (RFP), if needed, inclusive of business (functional) requirements, technical (non-functional) requirements, security requirements, and other requirements considered important for the project by the agency's management or by OSCIO; and,
- a project plan that describes the project’s scope, schedule, necessary budget, and resources needed to within +/- 50% of the project vision.
- This Stage is expected to be completed substantially before the agency begins a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) process to procure the project's Prime Contractor (also known as the System Integrator, Implementation Contractor, Design-Development-Implementation (DDI) Contractor, etc.).
- Prior to Stage 2 Endorsement, the agency should identify its project management resources (assign or obtain a Project Manager) and, if needed, obtain independent Quality Assurance (QA) services (i.e. Preliminary QA and other Quality Management Services).
- Independent Quality Control review of important foundational planning artifacts may need to occur prior to Stage 2 Endorsement; such as reviewing project requirements and a draft Statement of Work in support of the RFP process to procure the project's Prime Contractor.
- During Stage 2, agencies are free to produce and then submit more-detailed artifacts that would normally be expected to be produced/delivered by Stage Endorsement 3.
- Stage 2 activities support the Agency’s efforts to secure additional funding or oversight support of continued project efforts to prepare detailed Project Management plans/artifacts for the project.
Stage 3. Detailed Project Planning
Work activity during Stage 3 corresponds to a project’s Planning Phase, where the organization prepares detailed project management planning artifacts and then formally presents those project management plan documents to OSCIO for its review and approval. Stage 3 ends when OSCIO provides a digital or written Stage Gate 3 endorsement/approval memorandum (which may contain additional conditions that must be satisfied).
- Stage 3 is when a project develops substantial details about the specific implementation approach that will be used to execute the project; and it usually includes the release of an RFP for requisite vendor services.
- During Stage 3, the Project’s planning documents are revised (often based on better information obtained via the RFP) to represent scope, schedule, budget, and resource needs at a level of +/-10% of the project’s vision.
- The Detailed Project Management Plan is expected to be updated once the appropriate vendor services have been procured and, as needed, throughout the remainder of the project lifecycle (Stage 4).
- Agencies and their contractors may not begin Stage 4 work before receiving Stage 3 Endorsement/Approval from OSCIO.
- From the perspective of a project's authorized budget, Stage 3 endorsement may be needed to support the release of funding for project execution.
Stage 4. Execution
Work activity during Stage 4 corresponds to a project’s Execution Phase, where the organization implements the plans that were developed in Stages 1, 2, and 3, delivers the functionality described in the project requirements documents and vendor Statement(s) of Work, and prepares project tracking and close-out artifacts for oversight review and as required, approval. Stage 4 ends when OSCIO provides a digital or written Stage Gate 4 endorsement/approval memorandum (which may contain additional conditions that must be satisfied).
- Projects must submit quarterly reports to OSCIO, based on OSCIO templates, timeframes, and other OSCIO requirements.
- Project Status Reviews will depend on the specific software development lifecycle adopted by a project; and the size, complexity, and risk of the project.
- During this period and for projects with an Independent QA contractor, OSCIO expects
- an appropriate and documented level of internal quality assurance activity by the agency project team;
- if required, Independent Quality Management Services that cover quality planning, quality control (QC) reviews of important project work products and IV&V testing, quality assurance, and risk assessment.
- the scope of independent quality control (QC) reviews mentioned in (2) must include items identified under General Requirement No. 8 in the State Policy;
- for projects that contain multiple distinct phases of activity, project status reviews will rely on testing reports from all sources as a basis for phase completion. Stage 4 endorsement will rely on appropriate transition planning, lessons-learned and close-out documentation, and operations/maintenance planning in order to determine project readiness for conversion to production operations. Unless the OSCIO indicates otherwise, test reports must document testing results in accordance with applicable IT industry standards to ensure efficient, timely Independent review.