Project Red Light Status

When I started managing projects I believed that the red light status was something to be avoided. red light statusFor me having my project in red light status was like declaring surrender. It was synonymous with failure and embarrassment. Even when the status should have been red, I tried to mitigate, work long hours to put things on track without too much noise. As it came out on many occasions, this was not a good idea. Trust me, there is nothing worse than being accused of hiding information when you are working 17 hours a day and doing all you can to meet your deliverables and deliver the project scope.  Project Tracking Reports Main Page

Project Red Light Status Can be a A Good Thing

I was surprised when I worked with an experienced PM who had no issue with using the red light status. Not only when he knew the project was not going to make it, but whenever he there was a significant risk. I noticed another thing as well. When the red status was declared, the level of attention was increased immediately. The sponsor and steering committee got involved and it created a sense of emergency and drive. Guess what, it worked! It helped overcome obstacles by focusing the entire team on solving the issue rather than having only me with my “superhero” behavior. That was when it struck me. I realized that the red light is not failure but the right thing to do. It is an escalation and a delegation up to the sponsor and the heavy weight executives who can leverage things out of my reach. I stopped being afraid of it and started to put it to my use. It’s a bit like knowing that fever is a warning system in our body indicating that something is wrong. You don’t like it but you are forced to accept it and treat it. How to Write a Weekly Status Report

Project Red Light Status Summary

One piece of advice on this point. When you see the project heading downwards or maybe the project is still on track but you see a big iceberg on the horizon, use the red light status to get the attention and put the powerful people to your use. It is not a tool to get misused, however, because it involves the higher powers that are not always predictable and easy to manage.