A Decision Log is a communication tool used in project management to fill and record any decisions that have been made about a project.
It can either be a spreadsheet or an automated log. Whether at a meeting or through an email, it is important for a company to design its decision log to record all essential decisions for the project.
With a decision log, you will be able to record the different conversations that occurred, the critical decisions that will impact the project, and even track the progress of the project by checking off every decision in the decision log template. It also saves time since a company will not have to spend its quality time going through large documents but rather will be more focused on implementing the decisions.
As a company or business, you always need to have a decision log when discussing different company projects. There will always be discussions about essential and valuable decisions that will determine the outcome of a particular project. Having a decision log will allow the company to document all the different decisions in one place.
It also acts as a reference point for team members who might not have been in the meeting. With a decision log, parties involved in the project can easily access the details of the project, clarify any information, and focus on things that will benefit the project. Also, a decision log offers flexibility and convenience, which guarantees that the company can make changes and correct the decisions made with ease.
You should use a decision log as a company since it also reduces the time taken to make decisions, helps focus on the right parties required for decision making, ensures that all decisions made are based on accurate data, and facilitates proper execution of decisions. Finally, a company is guaranteed of updated information with a decision log since this tool facilitates that.
What to Include in a Decision Log
A decision log contains all the decisions that were made in relation to a particular company project. It is an appropriate communication tool that helps to provide company shareholders and other parties with all the information they wish to know concerning decisions made.
From the decision itself, the other options are presented to the people accountable for the decisions, and specific details must be included in the decision log template to ensure that it is complete and useful to the related parties. With this information, the parties involved are well guided about the project and reduce the chances of confusion.
Here is some basic information that you must include in the decision log:
Date the decision was made
Your decision log template should also include the date when the decision meant for the project was made. This date is most likely the day when a meeting was held and the particular decision was made. You need to also identify the date an email was sent, in case the email is what contained the made decision.
Names of the decision-making team
The people involved in making the decision should also be mentioned in the decision log. You need to include all their names in full. The decision-making team may include the project sponsor, colleagues at the company, and other necessary experts. It is essential that everyone present during the meeting when the decision was made is mentioned to avoid forgetting the involved parties.
The information you include in the decision log should be in relation to the decision. It should be within context and must be objectively described so as to ensure it is neutral. You should also include all the data that can be used to back up the decision.
The next important piece of information is to include the actual decision. You should only include the important decisions that relate to the project. Any other choices made, either during a conversation or meeting, which are not related to the project, should not be recorded in the decision log template.
Apart from recording the actual decision the team decided on, you should also include the other alternatives that were presented in the meeting and are likely to benefit the company’s project. You should have about three other alternative choices in your template.
Including other alternative decisions is important as it will not only benefit the company’s project but also offer stakeholders an idea of what was discussed during the meeting, provide options in case the picked decisions are not compatible and provide a record of the best way for the company to handle its projects in the future.
Ensure there is a reference number for each decision you include in the decision log template. A reference number makes it easier to share the log with other team members and even access the required decision more quickly.
It is also essential to include any supporting information about the decision made. This can include information as to why you made the choice, why you agreed on the decision, and how you can remember making the decision.
You should include what will happen once the decision made has been executed and applied to the project. This way, all the team members and other parties can understand the consequences of every decision that is executed within the project. The consequences will also help to determine the best course of action for the company that would be beneficial.
For companies facing decision-making problems, it is important to adopt the use of decision logs. With a decision log, you will have an essential communication tool that will help you record all the decisions made and aid you in tracking the actualization of the decisions. That means that companies need a decision log template to create a decision log.
With a decision log template, you will have a document that has the proper outline and sections meant to prepare a decision log for the company’s projects. The template is easy to use and format, which makes them convenient and time-saving, especially if you are dealing with many projects at once. You can download our free and easy-to-customize decision log templates below:
There are some special tips that you should have in mind to ensure that you include your information correctly in the decision log template. With these considerations, you will be able to record the right decisions and maximize the benefits of a decision log in your company or business.
Here are some of the important considerations you should consider when recording your project decisions in your decision log:
Record only valuable decisions
You should only include valuable decisions in the decision log template. This should be written in a detailed manner that puts into consideration the team member and other related parties of the project. You should try and avoid extra details that will make it hard for the stakeholders to identify the main decisions.
Instead, ensure that you add the following valuable information in the log template for decisions: frequently debated topics, any confusing decisions so as to make them clear to all parties, decisions made by individuals outside the project team like company leaders, and decisions that will impact the future of the project, alternatives of the decisions and decisions that might change the expectation of some shareholders.
Share the decision log with all involved
It is important to fill in all the decisions made and share them with the relevant people in the company. Sharing the decisions helps the company members to communicate better, have better decision-making abilities, execute decisions made and conduct follow-ups on projects. In addition, being aware of the decisions will help keep the employees motivated as they will have better focus and direction.
Record every business decision you make
In a meeting, you need to record every business decision you make. You can determine this by viewing which decisions stirred up a conversation among people. There should be 2 decisions from every manager and 3 decisions from the executive every week. With this tip in mind, you will avoid forgetting any important project decisions.
Record decisions quickly and move on
Making decisions is all about writing down a choice and acting on it. That is why; you need to record the decisions made about the project and move on to actualize them as a company. Through that, you will be able to see the outcomes of the decision and even spot the importance of having a decision log template. Also, since you have a record of the decisions, you can easily track the execution of the decisions made and spot the progress of the project.
How to Track Decisions Using ADR
An ADR (Architecture Decision Record) is meant to track project decisions in different ways. It enables two different approaches to recording decisions which include the quickly made decisions with no comparison information and the decisions with elaborate details that include the pros and cons of the study used to come up with the choices. Through its structure, an ADR can properly track decisions made in the company.
The structure of the ADR includes the title of the decision, the date when the decision was made, the status of the decision, the context, the decision itself, and the consequences. It can be stored in any version control system like git, the pull request of the proposal file until it is approved, and in folder structures. A decision log contains the executive summaries of all the decisions that are contained in an ADR.
It is best to track ADRs when significant changes that will alter the framework of the project are being made or when there is a need to evaluate any different technologies.
In a company or organization, making decisions related to a project may be a challenging process. Whether the decision is forgotten as soon as it is made or the process taken to make it is too long, most companies tend to face this decision-making problem in their projects.
That is why companies or businesses should use a decision log template. With a decision log, companies will have an appropriate communication tool to record any decisions made. A decision log will ensure that decisions are well recorded and properly executed; hence, the project continues successfully to benefit the company and its shareholder.