Its Green, Its Green, Its Green, Its Red


We’ve all seen it, a complex technology or change programme that appears to be progressing to plan, an initiative in full flight, consistently green in its status reporting, even enjoying plaudits at Steer-Co as an exemplar project.


Said project is now flashing Red.

Why did we not see this coming? Find out who is to blame? There are always numerous questions to analyse and answer as the team look to course correct.

Let us be clear, external factors, e.g. economic, supplier, technology, geo-political, market conditions, investment, currency fluctuations, can be a cause for such a rapid decline in status. Lets assume though, that this project is high profile, a significant initiative, one that’s known by name at Exco and one that hasn’t fallen fowl to the external factors above.

Why then, has this happened? and why was there no trend analysis presented at Steer-Co?

Culture and Capability

Often, we observe that an underlying culture of fear, driven by a challenging Sponsor community can lead the project manager to sweep bad news under the carpet. They do so in the hope that they themselves can somehow recover the project.

This very example highlights the capability gap in the project managers ability to stand up, to form the right conversation and to truly opine on risks the project is imminently about to face.


" C suites who allow this culture to win out must ultimately take accountability for what comes back, or in this scenario, what doesn't. Warren Kwei, Senior Managing Partner.

Practical steps to help avoid

  1. Foster a culture whereby project managers are well trained, equipped, even encouraged to lean in to a problem early
  2. Establish a governance framework, with a clear ToR that ensures transparency through high value KPIs
  3. Invest in upskilling project managers such that they’re able to present status in close collaboration with the Sponsor. It’s a two-way street
  4. Coach Sponsors such that they understand their role to be active, not passive. Their bias should lean towards they themselves updating the team on status, not simply being reported to. This is a minor, but very compelling shift for many organisations
  5. Construct your PMO in a way that is value-add, interventionist. Design and implement trend analysis that enhances visibility of risk
  6. Light touch assurance can often ensure the right conversations are being formed and that undesirable outcomes are safeguarded against


Some related case studies in challenging Enterprise/Mid-Enterprise businesses below.

Selected Projects


0.1 Transformation

Establishing a new strategic delivery office capability

Our client, Vocalink (a Mastercard Co.), wanted to get control of their change portfolio, ultimately with the objective of understanding priorities, financials, capacity, capability and whether risks were truly under active management control. EA were brought in to help support.


0.2 Technology

Winning confidence to deliver a pan-continental ERP migration

Our client, Travelex, is a global leader in foreign currency with operations in over 20 countries and 1000+ stores at airports and other locations worldwide. The client’s finance function was running 4 different general ledger systems, leading to inefficiencies and consolidation challenges. Previous attempts to migrate to a single GL, using internal resources, had failed. They needed EA support.


0.3 Advisory

Establishing a central Portfolio/PMO capability

Our client, Moto, (a CVC Co.) sought to establish new processes that enables more timely decision making. They were in pursuit of understanding available data that helped them navigate their change portfolio. EA were brought into to design and implement new controls that achieved the objectives.