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03 August 2012

The five levels of project management reporting

A quick healthcheck for people interested in project management reporting.

Level 1. Project has a plan and the plan indicates no corrective action is required to meet the dates in the plan. By "plan" I mean anything ranging from a short time box or sprint, right through to a detailed plan encompassing many months. Commonly called Green

Level 2. Project has a plan, but there is some risk to meeting dates, scope, quality or cost. Corrective action needs to be taken to ensure these are met, however this corrective action can be easily met with project resources. Commonly called Amber.

Level 3. Project has a plan, but cannot meet dates, scope, quality or cost without escalation. One of the 4 project criteria (dates, scope, quality or cost) is unlikely to be met. Commonly called Red.

Level 4: Project has no plan, but there is a definite timescale for when this will be available. A normal situation when a project is setting up. A very bad situation for when the project is well underway. Let's call this Purple.

Level 5: Project has no plan and there is no timescale for getting it. This means noone has any certainty about what will be delivered when at what cost etc. Moreover if there isn't enough time/people to build even a high level plan you seriously have to wonder who is going to be spare to actually do the work. Let's call this black.

My historical experience with recruitment agencies is that they often work in the black zone. "We have no feedback on your application, we believe this is probably because someone is on holiday (probably a guess), we don't know when they will be back and we don't know when after that we will get any feedback". So no plan to getting a plan then, definitely black. Must do better.

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