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What is a RAG document and how to use one

What is a RAG?

What is a RAG Document?

When you’re talking about project management the term RAG gets bandied about. Sometimes it even gets used as a verb – “I’ve made a list and RAG’d it”.

A RAG Document is a tool for project status reporting that is used by the PMO or a Project Manager. The RAG comprises all the tasks required on a project – or a certain part of the project – and visually signifies whether they are running as planned, are a cause for concern, or require escalation.

In order to drive consistency, it’s important to really define what you mean when you talk about a RAG – as well as being clear about what each status should be used for.

 

How does a RAG document work?

RAG Documents are created and used by everyone on a Programme, and validated by the PMO. They should be used as a simple and consistent visual tool in meetings and feed into any decision making process that helps keep the Programme on track.

Individuals are responsible for setting the correct status for the tasks they have been assigned, and the PMO are responsible for the overall completion and accuracy of the RAG.

The objective of a RAG is not to have as many tasks labelled Green as possible, but to accurately report the status of the tasks within a project

Why are RAG Documents Important?

RAG Documents are important because they quickly and simply convey to an entire project team when a task is at risk of falling behind or requires escalation.

The use of the traffic light system means anyone can understand there is a problem in a given area of the project without needing any technical knowledge about that area. If status updates were given only in a written form it may not be clear to everyone involved in a project how severe a problem is.

Using a simple traffic light system surpasses this problem and makes sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to acknowledging risks, issues and delays.

 

Understanding each status at a high level

A RAG document uses three tiers of status – Red, Amber and Green. To drive consistency in Resulting, with our clients, and within our RAG Documents, these statuses must be clearly understood and defined.

They must also be equated to convey an equivalent overall level of severity even when used in different areas of a project, or by different functions within the business.

 

Using a RAG status indicator on ERP Programme Delivery

RAGs are used in project management across a wide range of industries. At Resulting, we are primarily concerned with IT and ERP project management – so our RAG Documents reflect this.

All RAG Documents we created should include (but are not limited to) 5 key areas. Resourcing, Scoping, Scheduling, RAAIDD and Budget.

Individual projects may require other areas to be tracked in the RAG as well – and this will be dictated by the nature of the project, the industry the client works in, and a myriad of other factors. Across the 5 key sections we always cover, this is how we define each degree of RAG status.

 

Red RAG Statuses

In general Red statuses mean that:

There is an escalation / intervention required, and there is a decision required to unblock

Across the 5 key areas we always track, you might see this manifest in the following ways.



Resource
  • No tracker available
  • Demand only captured at a high level
  • Demand significantly higher than Supply (Impact example: Consistent
    delays due to non availability of people.)


Scope
  • Scope not signed off
  • Scope signed off and continually changed
  • No Governance process in place to manage change


Schedule
  • Integrated Plan not available
  • Enterprise Milestone at risk, or missed
  • Dependency items impacting the Critical Path not signed off
  • Critical open RAAIDD items impacting the Schedule


RAAIDD
  • No RAAIDD Register Exists
  • RAAIDD Process does not exist
  • Critical items open in RAAIDD


Budget
  • No signed off Budget
  • Forecast showing and overspend to Budget
  • Un-budgeted spend required

 

 

Amber RAG Statuses

In general Amber statuses mean that:

There is an early warning on potential blockers and a focus Point risk that needs to be highlighted, but the recovery plan is agreed

Across the 5 key areas we always track, you might see this manifest in the following ways.



Resource
  • Demand capture process in place
  • Resource tracker in place
  • Demand regularly exceeds Supply
  • Tasks get dropped with risk mitigation


Scope
  • Scope signed off but continually challenged
  • Governance process in place but not adhered to


Schedule
  • Integrated Plan Baselined and risk to plan tasks with No risk to Enterprise Milestones
  • Schedule recovery plan agreed
  • Critical Path not impacted


RAAIDD
  • RAAIDD items recorded with missing data owners
  • RAAIDD items recorded with overdue dates
  • Steps required to close items unknown


Budget
  • Forecast showing an overspend to Budget & Contingency Spend required
  • Budget related Risks or Issues registered but mitigation plans in place

 

 

Green RAG Statuses

In general Green statuses mean that:

There are no concerns to report and an overview of the focal points show that the project is in control

Across the 5 key areas we always track, you might see this manifest in the following ways.



Resource
  • Demand Capture process in place
  • Resource tracker in place
  • Balanced Supply and Demand (albeit managed through peaks and troughs)
  • Capacity to complete the Key Tasks


Scope
  • Scope Signed Off and Baselined
  • Scope Change Freeze Communicated to all stakeholders
  • Governance process in place to manage Controlled Change


Schedule
  • Integrated Plan Baselined and continuously reviewed through Governance Process
  • Schedule on track
  • No risk to achieving Enterprise Milestones


RAAIDD
  • Individual Registers in place for R,A,A,I,D,D and continuously reviewed through Governance Process
  • No Critical open items recorded – RAAIDD Process communicated to and access shared with all stakeholders


Budget
  • Forecast shows spend equivalent to Budget
  • No High Budget related Risks or Issues registered

Read more SAP and S/4 HANA Insights


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