Posted by: kerrywills | May 6, 2011

How yellow is yellow?


Every company that I have ever worked at and every program I have ever ran struggles with one fundamental problem….”what does it mean to be in yellow status?”

I am a believer in transparency and will put the status of my projects to yellow if there are risks to the program. I personally think that going straight from green to red is a bad reflection on the project. But let me distinguish that I believe there are two types of yellow; (1) Risks that need to be raised for awareness but do not need attention and (2) Issues that require action or attention. It is important to manage expectations so people know which yellow you mean.

I think something is missing...

I know some corporate cultures are afraid of yellow because it results in lots of yelling and unwanted attention. I believe that this actually promotes a behavior of PMs not reporting issues, thinking that they can manage the issues themselves and then only reporting on them once they are really bad and beyond the point they can be fixed.

Yellow should not be considered a bad thing but more of acknowledgement of risks or asking for help. If I was a senior leader, I would like to know that someone is aware of and monitoring these risks versus telling me it is green every week. (Maybe that is why I am not a senior leader )

What do others think of reporting yellow status?

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