The Color of Projects

Kristyn Medeiros

Red and green signify more than holiday spirit for most project managers. Along with yellow, these colors are used to indicate the status of a project — be it real, implied or imagined. Here are some helpful thoughts to keep in mind when using red, yellow and green to represent your project's health.

The holiday season is in the rear-view mirror now, the lights and decorations are back in boxes, but everywhere I turn I still see red and green. I’m talking about project status reports.

While we rely on red and green (and yellow) to gauge the health of our work, it’s important to remember that there is more to it than just the pretty colors. There is often the status we report and the real, implied status. For example, I may mark a project as green or yellow, when it really should be red. Why would I hide the true health? Maybe I’m an optimist and think it will work out, but more likely because of the perception and ramifications that come along with it. As you consider what health to give to your projects, here are several things to keep in mind about each health color.

Gorgeous Green

Ah, green. It’s a deep breath of fresh air, the smile of a job well done, and a pat on the back from your boss. It says “nothing to see here” and “you can ignore me.” While we want our projects to stay green forever, indicating everything is …

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