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The Use of RAG Reporting


RAG stands for Red, Amber and Green reporting. There are lots of programs that use these reports. Can we ultimately trust bosses that use the RAG results? Yes and no. It all depends on the situation. Let’s explore this a bit further.THE PROGRAM OF RAG

Bosses use this program to indicate how good or bad a project is going. With each level, specific light comes on. If you see the red light, it means there are problems with the program. When this happens tweaks need to be made. In some cases, it might mean going back to the drawing board entirely and starting over.

With the amber light, it means the program is okay. Will that mean good or bad for the program. It all depends. With some programs that enter the amber stage, you do need to go back and try a few things out. Other times it means that everything is okay and you can move forward.

The green light means that everything is good. In some cases, it means that everything is gold.

Usually companies use these reports when it comes time for budgeting and project scheduling. It’s used to indicate which programs need to have more money spent on them. If a program gets the green light around this time, you only need to do minimal scheduling. Sometimes you don’t need to schedule anything at all.


That’s a very good question, especially concerning those who handle things in unethical ways. This reporting is good to identify which programs have glitches. It also is used to identify the weaknesses. Now this does come with a downside. The management has to be confident in the project to begin with. The management needs to be confident in moving forward with something. The management also has to be accurate in their assessments. It’s easy to “fix” the results. Some personnel will do this to justify their own agenda. Using this method requires a great deal of trust.


1) The main one is the trust issue. There are some upper managements that can’t be trusted. When you turn this reporting over to them, it’s like setting a kid loose in a candy store.

2) Lack of confidence in the information. You have to not only trust the management, but you also need to trust the information. Is the information coming across as fair and correct? Is there a green light, when there should be a red light? Sometimes computer systems will mess up. You have to expect this. At the end of the day, you need to put your trust in the accuracy. This is difficult for a lot of people.

3)Some put out the wrong projections, because they don’t want to upset the senior management. Sometimes lower management will prefer to work out the problem themselves.


1) Apply practical problem-solutions to your problems. Identify early on where the issues are coming from, then work to fix them. If you do tis early on, you will avoid the upset of upper management.

2) Use a template everyday. This will keep things under budget and on track. The template can also give more accuracy with the colors, not to mention where the project actually stands.

3) Find common ground between lower and upper managements. This way there won’t be any issues when it comes to the results. As long as you establish good communication between the upper and lower levels, the stress levels will go down.

4) Establish some consistency when it comes to the reporting. Don’t just run one report one week, then a second one two weeks after. Consistency is the key.

RAG status reporting can be a powerful tool for many projects.

About Paul Naybour

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