Have you ever seen undertaking standing studies with coloured packing containers in numerous shades of inexperienced, amber, and purple? Or undertaking names written in these colours the place the remainder of the textual content is black? That’s the RAG standing of the undertaking.
In accordance with PMI, 11.4% of investment is wasted as a consequence of poor undertaking efficiency. RAG reporting is an efficient approach to attract administration’s consideration to tasks that want assist. When this assist is supplied and the undertaking is introduced again beneath management, much less of your funding might be wasted.
Let’s study extra about RAG in undertaking administration as a result of it’s a very helpful, visible approach of speaking undertaking standing.
What’s RAG is undertaking administration?
The RAG acronym stands for Purple, Amber, Inexperienced. These colours make up the site visitors gentle colours coding scheme for categorizing undertaking standing.
The undertaking RAG standing will both be Purple, Amber or Inexperienced. These colours characterize various kinds of administration motion required and are a shorthand for speaking about tasks going properly or these in hassle.
The desk beneath reveals what the colours imply.
|Challenge is prone to ship late/over finances
|Challenge has missed some targets however general finish date/finances will not be in danger
|Challenge on monitor
As you may see, this equates to the acronym BRAG. Some corporations solely use RAG, and drop the Blue. Some use RYG (Purple, Yellow, Inexperienced), though that’s more durable to pronounce!
And a few corporations don’t use colours in any respect, as an alternative favoring smiley faces, climate symbols or another graphical indicator that reveals if a undertaking is progressing to plan, struggling a bit or in hassle.
Totally different corporations use completely different RAG standing definitions behind the colours, so the precise interpretation to your firm may be barely completely different. Test along with your PMO.
What’s a ‘Purple’ undertaking?
A ‘Purple’ undertaking is one that’s challenged for some motive. It may very well be over finances, operating delayed or have uncontrolled scope adjustments (or all three). There are underlying issues, even when on the floor work is occurring and the crew is busy. Or there may be in-your-face issues.
Both approach, ‘Purple’ tasks want administration consideration, past what you may give them as a undertaking supervisor.
The Purple standing is shorthand for saying that the undertaking is in hassle. For instance:
- There are points that want escalating. The undertaking supervisor is unable to take care of the problems herself and/or doesn’t have a plan to have the ability to do this. Senior administration assist is required.
- There are points with necessities or undertaking scope that can end in important further work or price that should be authorized.
- There’s a big stage of undertaking danger with no plans to handle that danger.
- A scarcity of assets is impacting the crew’s means to get the work carried out and the undertaking supervisor can not resolve this herself.
- The completion date has slipped by greater than 4 weeks/outdoors tolerance.
- The finances is overspent by greater than 10%/outdoors tolerance.
Your PMO ought to outline precisely what ‘Purple’ means after which you may test your undertaking efficiency in opposition to these measures. In case you are not capable of justify why you might be at Amber standing, then report your undertaking as Purple.
In my expertise, most Purple points relate to the undertaking schedule (the work is operating behind) or finances (the work is costing greater than we thought).
Learn subsequent: How to create a project budget
What must you do in case your undertaking is Purple?
There’s no disgrace in reporting a undertaking as Purple. It merely signifies that administration consideration is required and is an efficient technique to get stakeholders to concentrate on what they should do to make sure the undertaking delivers a profitable end result.
The motion to take is first to be sincere with the state of affairs and ‘peel again the curtain’ to indicate precisely what goes mistaken and why.
Then work with senior administration to overview the standing of the undertaking. Search for what could be fastened and salvaged. Dig into the foundation causes of points. Shut what you may, choosing off precedence issues first.
Be sincere with shoppers: if you’re in an company setting or delivering work for exterior prospects, there comes a time when you must be upfront concerning the state of the work.
You’ll want their assist to create a restoration plan, as in my expertise, recovering a undertaking means you may end the work however it’s going to price extra and be late.
If, after you’ve totally picked aside the issues, the sponsor and crew really feel that there’s nothing price saving on this undertaking, it’s time to shut it down. It’s higher to shut down a undertaking than throw cash at one thing that’s not delivering and has no capability to have the ability to ship the enterprise advantages that had been promised or meet the supposed enterprise goals.
What’s an ‘Amber’ undertaking?
An ‘Amber’ undertaking is one which will want administration consideration by the undertaking crew are managing inside their current powers and authority ranges in the meanwhile. This standing means the undertaking has missed some targets – maybe it’s operating late on sure duties or is overspent on specific work packages – however general the crew can nonetheless convey the undertaking to completion inside the at present authorized tolerances.
Listed here are some examples of what would possibly outline a undertaking as being Amber. Your individual PMO could set barely completely different parameters:
- The finances is overspent in sure areas however this isn’t going to have an effect on the general undertaking finances or push the spend outdoors of authorized tolerances.
- Sure duties or milestones are delayed however the general delay is inside tolerance OR the delay will not be going to have an effect on the undertaking completion date.
- There are points with undertaking necessities or scope however they’re being managed by the crew.
- There’s a lack of assets to ship the work however it’s being managed by the crew and doesn’t (but) want intervention from the undertaking sponsor or steering group.
- There’s resistance from stakeholders relating to the required organizational change however the crew has a plan to handle this.
- There are greater than 5 open points with a standing of ‘excessive’ however the crew is managing these in the meanwhile.
What must you do in case your undertaking is Amber?
The motion for an Amber undertaking is a watching transient. Which means you regulate it. In case you are the undertaking sponsor, be sure to test in often with the undertaking crew. Be ready to supply assist if requested.
In case you are the undertaking supervisor, hold an in depth eye on the undertaking standing and test in with the crew often – maybe extra usually than standard so you see any new points earlier. Work on the open points and attempt to get the undertaking again on monitor.
What’s a ‘Inexperienced’ undertaking?
A undertaking with the standing of ‘Inexperienced’ is one that’s progressing to plan. Inexperienced means there are not any considerations for senior management to fret about and no administration intervention is required. The undertaking supervisor and crew have all the pieces beneath management.
Your undertaking might be at Inexperienced standing if:
- The finances forecast at completion is similar as what you had deliberate.
- You might be on monitor to hit all supply dates – if particular person duties are delayed by a day or two, this isn’t affecting milestones.
- There are not any points that the undertaking supervisor or crew wants assist resolving.
In case you report your undertaking as Inexperienced, be ready to justify it. Sponsors wish to have proof that their initiatives actually are going in addition to you say they’re!
By no means report a undertaking as Inexperienced when there are issues however simply don’t wish to say. It’s not possible it is possible for you to to resolve them satisfactorily by your self, with out the sponsor discovering out, after which all you might be doing is delaying telling them the dangerous information till later… doubtlessly so late that they’ll’t assist you to put it proper.
How you can use RAG statuses in undertaking reporting
The RAG ranking to your undertaking (so, the colour that almost all intently represents your evaluation of how the undertaking is doing) is especially utilized in reporting.
On a undertaking standing report, the suitable shade could be proven as an indicator on the prime of the web page, giving the reader a quick visible signal that summarizes undertaking standing. RAG can be utilized for the next studies:
- Weekly standing report
- Month-to-month standing report
- Threat report (add a RAG standing to every undertaking danger to indicate the extent of danger)
- Challenge board report
- Portfolio or program reporting.
Principally, anyplace it’s essential inform folks about standing, you should use RAG.
You could possibly additionally break down the BRAG shade scheme for every space of the undertaking comparable to scope, high quality, finances, dangers and so forth. This could require you to flag every particular person space with a shade (RAG indicators), like within the desk beneath. Select the cell and alter the background to the suitable shade.
This fashion of color-coding undertaking standing by part of the undertaking works finest for giant, advanced tasks, particularly the place there are a number of workstreams or completely different crew leaders chargeable for completely different sections of the work.
The place a component is reported as being Amber or Purple, there may be further textual content added to indicate what has triggered that and what corrective motion is being taken to return the undertaking to the standing of inexperienced. On one undertaking, we needed to report the date by which we thought the undertaking was going to be inexperienced once more – that was tough to forecast, to be sincere.
In my expertise, on small and medium-sized tasks it’s simpler to stay with one shade indicator that represents the undertaking supervisor’s opinion of general undertaking standing.
Simply ‘RAG it’!
I hear this from portfolio managers, program managers, and senior leaders who desire a high-level overview of all of the tasks inside a division or division. They don’t seem to be significantly within the element of every undertaking however they wish to see all of the open tasks with a RAG ranking.
In these conditions, I’d create a RAG report that reveals my undertaking names (or these inside the portfolio on which I’m reporting) and the RAG evaluation through shade coding and in addition writing the identify of the colour in case they print the report in black and white or have a look at it on an historical machine.
I’d additionally add a restoration plan. Very similar to the desk above, that is only a line or two that describes why a undertaking is reported as being Purple or Amber and what the crew is doing to place it proper.
Is RAG reporting dependable?
RAG reporting is barely nearly as good because the undertaking supervisor’s evaluation. If the undertaking is reported as Inexperienced however really it’s actually struggling, then that doesn’t serve anybody. Challenge groups should be free from a blame tradition to have the ability to report precisely, whatever the RAG ‘rating’ of their undertaking. It’s not a contest to be essentially the most inexperienced…
…and a few undertaking managers appear to have a pure tendency to report all the pieces as inexperienced, even when it’s apparent one thing is mistaken! There must be a stage of respectful problem. Be a essential good friend to the undertaking managers in your division in the event you see that optimism bias occurring.
That’s why it will be significant for the PMO to arrange RAG standing definitions. When you’ve parameters like ‘the finances is forecasted to be greater than 15% overspent’ or ‘greater than 3 milestones are forecasted to be 2 weeks late or extra’ then undertaking managers have ample steering on what the standing means and the way they are going to be interpreted.
In case your PMO doesn’t have a set of outlined meanings for what the completely different colours characterize, then I’d advocate together with those you’ve used as a footnote in your report. Merely add a few sentences concerning the RAG which means that say one thing like:
- Inexperienced: Challenge is on monitor to ship as deliberate
- Amber: Challenge has points which are being handled by the crew
- Purple: Challenge requires administration intervention
This avoids there being a unique interpretation of what the colours imply. For instance, some managers I’ve labored with have assumed that Purple means the undertaking crew is struggling however “it’s all beneath management”. That’s not the case in any respect!
Managing senior stakeholders’ responses
Let’s be sincere: nobody desires to see a undertaking they sponsor flagged as Purple on some report.
Executives wish to suppose they’ve a deal with on what’s going on and the way the work is being managed. They don’t wish to be linked to one thing that’s failing. So the response of senior managers to RAG statuses is certainly one thing to remember.
Do that: Warn them that the report goes to indicate that the undertaking is in want of administration consideration and might be reported as Purple. Once I did this, my sponsor rapidly sprung into motion, resolved just a few issues and we received again to Amber in a few hours.
Not all sponsors (or points) will reply like this, however give them an opportunity to get used to the concept their undertaking goes to come back beneath scrutiny earlier than you ship the report back to everybody.
Don’t do that: Spring it on them, whereas copying the report into a great deal of different stakeholders. Nobody likes shock dangerous information.
Utilizing undertaking administration instruments
Many groups use project collaboration tools to arrange studies and the excellent news is that this fashion of reporting standing is usually constructed into the software program you employ. If it isn’t, you’ve usually received the choice to set bespoke colours so you may change job highlights or dangers to indicate within the colours of your alternative.
Challenge dashboards even have undertaking standing indicators in-built to allow you to filter on tasks in hassle and so forth. In case you don’t have the choice in your software, create a customized discipline so undertaking managers can enter the data manually.
In case you are going ‘old fashioned’ with spreadsheet-based portfolio administration, then merely change the cell shade to no matter you need it to be.
Must you share RAG standing with exterior stakeholders?
That relies upon! Transparency and moral habits in undertaking administration are vital. If the shopper must know, or they can assist with the corrective motion, it’s best to inform them.
Your subsequent steps
Right here’s what to do subsequent:
- Be sure to know what the RAG standing definition is for the colour you might be utilizing. Create a definition in the event you don’t have one, so it’s not a subjective evaluation of undertaking standing primarily based on the undertaking supervisor’s finest guess.
- Make certain RAG is reported often, if it isn’t in the meanwhile.
- Speak to your sponsor and management crew about RAG as an idea of project status reporting if they aren’t aware of it, and allow them to know what is anticipated of them for a Purple undertaking.
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