How to Use RAG Status Ratings to Track Project Performance

Do you use the RAG status definition?

The use of traffic light labelling is supported by many physician groups including the British Medical Association and welcomed by consumers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Again this is not strictly a 'traffic light' since there are likely to be more than three colours. Some organisations, such as the U. This is not strictly a 'traffic light' but by analogy a scale of seven values that run from red to green through intermediate colours.

Understanding RAG Status Ratings

Traffic light rating system

Green typically indicates normal levels of production; amber indicates that production has slowed or attention is otherwise warranted ; red indicates that production has stopped or the line is down. In the British Civil Service and other departments of the United Kingdom government , traffic light colours are used as a coding system for good or bad performance, usually known as a 'RAG rating'—Red, Amber, Green. For example, a red workload performance would mean inadequate, amber would mean reasonable, and green would mean good.

The letters R, A and G are used in addition to swatches of colour, so that the system can be used by colour-blind readers. When status reporting how well a milestone , project , program or portfolio is performing or being delivered, project managers often use a RAG rating to indicate how on track or at risk is the project, its deliverables or tasks. More recently, an additional status colour, blue, has been introduced [ citation needed ] to show where milestones or components of a milestone, project, programme, or portfolio are complete.

He also introduced a variation of the blue milestone, adding a red outline for items delivered or completed late. This ensured late delivery remained visible as opposed to focus simply switching to other areas of a programme where the status might turn red through an inter-dependency as a result of the late delivery and no fault of that particular area. In he introduced Magenta milestones [ citation needed ] to show new or changed items. These variations have seen implementation by some notable organisations, such as British Telecom [ citation needed ].

Some organisations, such as the U. Navy , use traffic light terminology for sexual harassment education. Green light behaviour is normal discussions or actions, such as discussing work or assisting someone on stairs.

Amber light behaviour is potentially offensive behavior, such as sexist jokes or patting someone on the behind. The RAG system is a popular project management method of rating for issues or status reports, based on Red , Amber yellow , and Green colors used in a traffic light rating system. Traffic lights provide great variable insight using just 3 status types, which is why the system has been widely adopted in information dashboard design. It is understandable by most people, therefore offering designers an established set of guides for grouping data based on their status.

But often, when working with a complex system like Weekdone , just 3 statuses are not enough. An Objective can have 3 major statuses when a quarter has ended: Off track , at risk , and on track. But the latest update of Weekdone OKR software calculates OKR status automatically, in real time , based on completion and time that has passed since the beginning of a quarter. This means that the previously 3 values needed an extra, which would indicate that a person has exceeded the expectation for being on track.

So, on to expanding the traffic-light styled RAG color coding. We need an extra color. But where does it come from and how does it fit into the existing pattern that people are familiar with?

One might start with retaining the start and end values of the system Red and Green , and trying to divide the middle Amber with 2 possible values, like this:. It definitely gets us 4 steps that are equally far from each other, but it does not show us Amber, so it breaks the established pattern.

This version retains Amber, but equal color distance means we need to add a step between both Red-Amber and Amber-Green. This results in 5 possible states, which is not something we wanted. In both above cases, the generated intermediate values become harder to distinguish from each other, and they don't answer the question that we want: Answering that question, we are proud to present an original:

Weekly Planning + Quarterly Objectives