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Each day we have a Daily Forum meeting where all attendees are given the opportunity to speak, to establish their workload, to understand their own and the wider project issues and to understand and agree the overall status of the project. This is a very powerful technique.

The project team members are not told the project status. They investigate, derive and confirm the status by themselves. It does not take long and is a central procedure to support collaborative working. If there begins a short debate over whether a project is this status or that; then the debate can be taken offline for the Daily Forum meeting. This happens very rarely in our experience and when it does the team are informed that a status update will be within one hour of the end of the Daily Forum meeting. This way all participants know that the team members who had cause to debate the status have done so, agreed a way forward and then there is no need for Chinese Whispers or project personnel seeking the so called real status. Again we look at all opportunities to minimise waste and wasted effort to focus the team on priorities and the important completion of the project delivery.

So how do we establish the project status within the Daily Forum meeting? We do it at the end. Once all issues have been aired and the team have agreed what the lows and highlights are we suggest you propose the RAG status and get it challenged. So if you think everything is completely rosy in the garden then propose the Green status and ask for agreement. It is best to suggest and demand challenge rather than start a debate, otherwise you could be there all day and frankly we do not want that do we?

There is always some questioning and debate about RAG statuses whether this part or that part of the project makes it Red or it actually makes it Green or whether this project really is Amber. Well within the Toolkit we have made the decision much simpler. No longer do you debate whether a project is on target or not. Your projects will always be on target when you use the Toolkit they have no other status.

Your project is not managed in the old way; you do not conduct historical analysis of events by establishing if such and such deliverable was successful or whether it was not. You are proactively managing every facet of the project by releasing some element of control to empowered individuals and by sharing responsibility with every member of your project team. You are going to deliver to quality. We know this as your project business team are embedded within the project and evaluate the deliverables at every available planned opportunity. You are going to deliver to time. We know this as your project was estimated and planned to deliver key outputs within selected timeboxes. You evaluate the deliverables within the current timebox to make sure you can still deliver them and adjust the focus of the effort if it deems unsuitable. This is done with the full agreement of your business team.

Finally, you are going to deliver to budget. Why would we have this as the primary objective of The Big Agile Toolkit if it was not going to do that? You do not need to doubt this integrity as you know for certain this is true because the project has agreed to deliver certain outputs to agreed quality, to agreed time and will adjust the effort to make sure it maintains focus. We also maintain the optimum team size without losing our key people and without rushing in late attendees to bolster flagging waterfall deliveries. Thus saving and not wasting money.

The Daily Forum will investigate and review every threat to project progress including risks and time or delivery challenges. The Forum will manage the RAID Log which will identify those challenges. Importantly we also use the important technique of Engagement Commitments to identify our project status and to report any threats to the successful delivery of the project. All Engagement Commitments will be intact and the project will maintain this.

If one of your Engagement Commitments is threatened and you only require confirmation from a stakeholder that a Commitment is still established then this is an Amber status. It will turn to Green when the Engagement Commitment stops being threatened. Clearly if Engagement Commitments are endangered or jeopardized then the project is under threat. This is not yet a break it is a crack. However when the Engagement Commitment stops being supported then the project is flagged as RAG Status Red, put into disengagement mode and disengagement processes are initiated to repair the damage in what could be the last 2 days of the project.

So we use this simple measure comparing the status of risks and Engagement Commitments and use this to establish the health and success likelihood of our projects. Use this method and you can evidence your project successes well and, now this is important too, you should not get much senseless debate or random challenges from your peers or managers.

Well, that is the plan anyway! Right, here we go with the simple explanation of the three RAG statuses and the circumstances that trigger that particular RAG status to be set.

  1. GREEN:
    No RED risks are on the RAID log. All Engagement Commitments are in place and operational.
  2. AMBER:
    At least one RED risk is on the RAID log.
    At least one Engagement Commitment is endangered or jeopardized.
    Use Amber status even if a Commitment is challenged or seriously questioned by a project team member.
  3. RED:
    At least one Engagement Commitment is confirmed NOT in place or is NOT operational.


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Project RAG Status


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