While most references state that decision points mean project milestones, I beg to differ. While every decision point is actually a project milestone, the opposite is not true (no every project milestone is a decision point). A decision point (also referred to as "Go/No Go point" or a "project gate") is a special milestone, where an extremely question is asked by the project committee: "Should we continue with this project or not"?
If the decision to continue is yes, then the "gate opens", and the project is allowed to move to the next stage (hence the term stage-gate), if the decision is no, then the project is killed or canceled.
The project committee take the following criteria into consideration when deciding on a project:
- Is the project still relevant?
- Did the competition already kill this project with something better?
- Is the ROI of the project acceptable at this point?
- Can we still do the project?