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Overview of Integrated Product Development System and IPDS Gates

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.

What is IPDS? What are the "gates" of the integrated product development system? What steps fall into each IPDS gate?

IPDS should be used to evaluate the value of project ideas and benefits and risks of the product well before you begin designing it.

IPDS should be used to evaluate the value of project ideas and benefits and risks of the product well before you begin designing it.

IPDS Gates Explained

Integrated Product Development or IPDS manages products from concept to closure through a series of gates. Each IPDS gate refers to a specific phase of the project.

  • Gate 0 is the initial review of the concept. Are you building a bridge or a website or a phone application? Are they asking for a delivered product or service? Is this a general question on capability or potential revenue opportunity?
  • Gate 1 is a review of whether or not the business can pursue the project. At this gate, the company decides whether the project is within the scope of its basic skill set. If it is at the edge of their skill set, is the project within long-range plans to expand into a new market? Gate 1 includes determining if the project falls within the company's business plan.
  • Gate 2 reviews the pursue/do not pursue decision. Now that the organization knows its capabilities, it decides whether or not to put together a proposal. It is common for a Gate 2 review to include several possible bids and which ones have the best potential for the company.
  • Gate 3 reviews the readiness for the proposal. Do you have the ability to deliver at a reasonable cost? Is the cost to deliver worth the potential profit?
  • Gate 4 of IPDS includes delivering the proposal to the customer. Gate 4 includes the time and effort to develop the proposal and presentation to the customer.
  • Gate 5 is the start-up gate. Gate 5 begins when the customer accepts the proposal and the business starts planning to support it.
  • Gate 6 is the requirements and architecture gate. What exactly does the customer need? What is the software architecture for the software to be created?
  • Gate 7 is the preliminary design gate. The initial product designs are created or code outlines are written.
  • Gate 8 is the critical design gate. The best designs are selected to be narrowed down to a single, critical design. Gate 8 selects one blueprint upon which production will be based.
  • Gate 9 is the test readiness gate. Initial prototypes are tested until one that can be built quickly and cheaply is selected. The design may change to support manufacturability, bring down the cost or meet customer requirements. The production planning begins based on the selected design, such as the creation of assembly instructions, test plans, and bills of material. Completion of Gate 9 starts Gate 10, the production and deployment stage.
  • Gate 10 includes production, operations, and support. Gate 10 can include enhancement requests or break fixes. Gate 10 continues until the project is shut down.
  • Gate 11 is sometimes used to describe program shutdown. In this step, the books are closed out, remaining inventory liquidated and the customer returned material sent back to the customer. However, Gate 11 is not used universally. For many projects, program shutdown is considered part of IPDS Gate 10.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: How many days after contract award should the gate 5 start-up review be conducted?

Answer: It takes time to review the contract and gather the necessary information, but ideally within a few weeks.

© 2011 Tamara Wilhite