Skip to content
Avtar Davatwal 18-Mar-2022 09:16:23 8 min read

What is a RAG document in ERP Programme Management? (and how to use one)

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”.

In order to drive consistency in the way we work across the company, it’s important that we really define what we mean when we talk about a RAG - as well as being clear about what each status should be used for. 

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. 

As part of a drive for consistency across the business, we should not refer to items using a traffic light system as a RAG unless the document is being used for project status reporting. 

We may choose to use the red, amber, and green colourways to convey information such as complete, in progress, or not started - but this document should not be referred to as a RAG.

How does a RAG Document Work

RAG Documents are created and used by everyone on a Programme, and validated by the 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.

That means a Resourcing Red must be as severe as a Scheduling Red. An Amber from the HR team must get the same attention as an Amber from the IT team.

In Resulting - this is how we define each RAG Status.

Red - Behind schedule against target date with no current plan to recover. This requires an escalation. The project team need help to resolve a problem. 

Amber - Behind schedule against target date but with a current plan to recover. It’s for awareness. The project may need assistance in the future. The issue is currently being handled within the project team but management team should be aware.

Green - On schedule against target date. Project progressing to plan.

Note: When items are Complete, they are often marked in Blue (BRAG).

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.

Resourcing RAG Status

Green

 - 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

Amber 

 - Demand capture process in place

 - Resource tracker in place

 - Demand regularly exceeds Supply

 - Tasks get dropped with risk mitigation

Red

 - 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 RAG Status

Green

- Scope Signed Off and Baselined

 - Scope Change Freeze Communicated to all stakeholders

 - Governance process in place to manage Controlled Change

Amber 

 - Scope signed off but continually challenged

 - Governance process in place but not adhered to

Red

 - Scope not signed off

 - Scope Signed off and continually changed

 - No Governance process in place to manage change

 

Schedule RAG Status

Green

 - Integrated Plan Baselined and continuously reviewed through Governance Process

 - Schedule on track 

 - No risk to achieving Enterprise Milestones

Amber 

- Integrated Plan Baselined and risk to plan tasks with No risk Enterprise Milestones

 - Schedule recovery plan agreed

 - Critical Path not impacted

Red

 - 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 RAG Status

Green

 - 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

Amber 

 - RAAIDD items recorded with missing data owners

 - RAAIDD items recorded with overdue dates

 - Steps required to close items unknown

Red

 - No RAAIDD Register Exists

 - RAAIDD Process does not exist

 - Critical items open in RAAIDD

 

Budget RAG Status

Green

 - Forecast shows spend equivalent to Budget

 - No High Budget related Risks or Issues registered

Amber 

 - Forecast showing an overspend to Budget & Contingency Spend required

 - Budget related Risks or Issues registered but mitigation plans in place

Red

 - No signed off Budget

 - Forecast showing and overspend to Budget

 - Unbudgeted spend required