Projects at Work

Watermelon Projects

As organizations grow, senior leadership inevitably asks for more aggregated reporting; there is too much going on for them to know all the details. A popular version of this reporting is the stoplight: red, yellow, green. But when you reduce complex efforts into a single color, there can be a shocking loss of fidelity.


Bart Gerardi

Sr. Technical Program Manager, Amazon.com

Bart has been an ecommerce program manager for 15 years, and can’t…

A member of my team recently introduced me to a new concept: the “Watermelon Project.” These are projects on your dashboard that are green on the outside while being red on the inside. (Some online definitions call them “red and bleeding” on the inside, for what it’s worth.) He didn’t invent the term, but I found the concept fascinating, and it resonated with my experiences. Let us examine why the phenomenon exists at all, and then some examples of types of watermelons.

Boiling it down to a color. At a certain organizational size, senior leadership stops being able to remain in touch with all the details of the projects that are in-flight. While …



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TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Dave Prior

Agile Consultant, LeadingAgile
Dave Prior, PMP, CST, MBA is an Agile Consultant for LeadingAgile where …

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Andy Jordan is a well known author and speaker on project management and…

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Sr. Technical Program Manager, Amazon.com
Bart has been an ecommerce program manager for 15 years, and can’t…

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