Defining rules for Red, Yellow, and Green status bars

Continued from: Three things that make successful red-yellow-green status bars

When setting the status of a project metric (tickets closed, lines of code written, % build passing, etc), it's essential that you have a clear and consistent policy. If one metric is green, it should mean the same thing the green means for another metric.

One person's green can't be another person's yellow. The only way to accomplish this is to have a core set of guidelines that determine the status of the metric, and this core set has to be independent of the metric being measured:

Fair Measures of a Metric Status

Color StatusUsed whenever one of these is true:
  • You are not meeting target goals* for two or more consecutive weeks
  • You have had a catastrophic failure of the week and little got accomplished
  • A new issue arose during the week that makes the possibility of reaching the final goal highly unlikely
  • You are meeting target goals for one consecutive week
  • You are failing to meet target goals for one consecutive week
  • You have discovered new issues that have yet to be assessed, but could put the project at risk>
  • You are meeting target goals for two or more consecutive weeks
  • You have made a significant breakthrough or leap in this week that makes the goal highly likely

* meeting the target goals: you have accomplished the minimum amount of work required each week to complete this project. Note that this amount is continually changing, depending on the amount of time remaining, and the amount of work outstanding

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