How Significant Is RAG in Project Management?

Project managers must be familiar with the different colored boxes in their project status reports. Sometimes, instead of the boxes, the text is highlighted with red, amber, or green. Well, that is the RAG status of the project. Each color has a different meaning that helps enterprises draw attention to the projects in need of immediate support. In her article for A Girl’s Guide to PM, Elizabeth Harrin talks about the significance of RAG in project management.

What Is RAG?

RAG stands for Red, Amber, and Green. Depending on the status of the report, the tasks are highlighted in a specific color. Red denotes that the project is probably going to be delayed or be over budget. Amber suggests that the project has missed some of its targets but has not been delayed or gone over budget. Green states that the project is going per the schedule and is in good shape. Furthermore, some companies also prefer to use the color blue, leading to the acronym ‘BRAG,’ where blue represents concluded projects.

How to Implement RAG

According to PMI, 11.4% of investment is wasted because of poor project performance. Using RAG in project reports provides users with a visual aid to understand an individual project’s status, saving a reasonable amount of time. RAG can be used in the following project reports:

Weekly status reportMonthly status reportProject board reportPortfolio or program reporting

Regarding the reliability of the RAG report, Harrin states that it is as good as the project manager’s assessment. A flawed RAG report might create misunderstanding between team members and lead to adverse consequences. Some project managers tend to put everything in green boxes to avoid conflicts and discussions with senior leadership. It is extremely crucial for a project manager to be truthful when it comes to reporting project updates.

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