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Early Report a Red Flag is a Must

Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time. -Arnold Glasow. 

As Project Managers, we don’t like to give bad news, but it is key to early report Red deviations in order to make our Project succeed.

Sometimes we see optimistic Project Managers that report tasks completed at 85% in the Green. The truth is that an 85% task is not completed. What is more, probably the 85% is optimistic and we don’t know what will happen with the last 15%. Take in to account that cutomers’s “deliverable acceptances” are always in the last percentaje.

A Project Manager must be realistic and report real an accurate information. We can’t change reality, or probably yes, but first we must read the actual situation of the Project.

If our Project according to reality is not in the Green (which means that it is actually on scope, on time/schedule and on costs/budget), then the Project Manager should report it as Yellow.

When the risks have become to problems, immediate actions must be taken. A Red status is the correct for that situation. An early report of a Red flag is a must.

When reporting bad news, also the Project Manager must report solutions. A Fast-Tracking strategy should be proposed and considered .

Bad news must be given on time to Project Director/senior executives/stakeholders. Then inform them of the corrective actions planned to solve the deviations, and keep them informed during all this phase. If the Project Manager manages to control and correct the situation, he will be known for this success. If the Project Manager doesn’t manage this situation, at least he will communicated it on time and there will be evidence that he took the righ actions to solve the situation.

This way, also the stakeholders will have the opportunity to increase the investment on the Project to control and correct risks. But if the Project Manager hides the real situation of his Project, he will be assuming a responsibility that is taken too far and then, he will no doubt be the principal responsible of the Project’s failure.

Realistic reporting is a must.

How do you manage bad news in your Projects?

Author: angelberniz (All Rights Reserved by the author)
Source: Original Text (based upon first hand knowledge)
Image: © Yuri Arcurs –
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