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  • Nidhi Sharma

Start with Red

Establishing a Sense of Urgency in your projects from the start

In your working experience how many times have you delivered or seen a project being delivered on time, on budget and with happy customers? In my experience working with various large clients as an I have rarely witnessed long projects come to fruition with flying colors and getting the value with high quality. And so, I ask myself why does it feel like a Déjà vu? why is this situation so similar with various well-established organizations? what is the missing link?


Failed and Challenged Projects

After doing some research online I came across the article, “The Chaos Report” by The Standish group. According to the report “between the years 2003 – 2017 91% of waterfall and 82% of agile projects either failed or were significantly challenged. Now these are just the percentages of failed and challenged projects you can only imagine the cost associated with these projects and or people’s time and effort. Yeah!

There are many factors that contributes to failing project, some that we can control and some that we cannot, so we focus on the ones that we can control. There are times where it is even hard to pinpoint where the problem is… so there is not just one missing link but multiple links that plays a role in failed projects.


A Moment of Enlightenment

Here is a story worth sharing as that is where my light bulb went off and discovered why we need to be thinking of starting with Red.

So here it goes… while working with the client for over a year and helping them on their agile implementation, one day an urgent meeting was called. The purpose of the meeting was to reveal that the project has gone Red!

The solution that was presented: make sure that teams are working hard or harder, hire more people to meet the date generate more data/reports to see the progress more frequently, and create sense of urgency in teams and in the program. Bingo! At that moment, the thought came to my mind, why wait for project to go red and then create sense of urgency? Why not start a project with Red and start sense of urgency from the beginning?


An Early Call to Action

Imagine if we start projects with Red we would think and plan differently. For example, we would be thinking of MVP

(Minimum Viable Products) and as these features are getting done we would turn Red to yellow and moving the bar to green as we come close to finishing the project. Will also, shift team’s focus more on customer needs, working software and just enough documentation rather than creating detailed plans and requirements. Since, teams focus will be on customer needs they would adopt more incremental approach and small batch sized objectives. Lastly, we would have strong community of like-minded individuals who shares the vision and goals.


For more information on creating a sense of urgency in your transformation effort or with your delivery teams, email contact@mindset180


About Nidhi Sharma

Nidhi is a Transformation Consultant at Mindset180 LLC. She has 15 years of experience working in agile and has been engaged in agile transformation and agile coaching with various organizations for 6 years. Helping clients in their agile journey by establishing agile frameworks and developing agile mindset.

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