Three things that make a successful Red Yellow Green Status policy

One of the more popular Agile techniques these days is the incorporation of a simple Red, Yellow, Green status for your project. And, by extension, simple statuses for the metrics that track your project.

But the problem with a RYG method is that it quick descends into blind pessimism or blind optimism. If the criteria for setting the status isn't clear, it will trend towards the general mood of the team. A team with high moral will call things green. A team with low morale will call things red.

If the goals for the project aren't clear, it will trend towards the general nature of the team. An optimistic team will have more green status bars. An older, grumpier team will have more red status bars.

A lazy team will have more yellow status bars.

There are three things that are essential for a working RYG Status policy:

Defined and measurable project goals: If you can't even state what makes a project successful, how will you ever know if you are on track? If you can't state what it will take each week to get to a successful project, how will you know if the week was successful?

Transparency: The status chart should be visible to all, and the reasons for each status color should be clearly communicated. Never leave the status color up to a single individual, unless you have clear and objective measures that everyone understands.

Policy: The choice of what makes a metric green needs to be clear and consistent. A green status for one metric should represent the same condition as a green status for another metric.

Continued: Defining rules for red, yellow and green

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