Recording Key Project Decisions


Quick Summary
Screenshot If you've ever found yourself or your team wondering what you actually decided about that feature weeks ago (or hours ago!) you need a list of Key Project Decisions. This file provides several different formats for recording key decisions in various contexts, as well as tips for using features in common project management and collaboration tools to maintain this critical piece of project history.


This template requires a Premium Subscription
Please log in. Don't have a log-in? Sign up now. Already a Member? Log in to upgrade immediately and get the file! A Premium subscription is only $14.95/month or $149/year and gets you over 200 templates, guidelines, and checklists.
15-day free trial period for new Premium subscribers! Learn more
Log in to download this file

Username:  
Password:  

What this is

Example formats for keeping track of important decisions made during a project. Although the concept and typical formats are simple, different teams do end up crafting variations that suit how they want to use such lists for tracking and communication. This file includes several formats for keeping running lists, documenting decisions in meetings, and an example form for documenting background information on more detailed decisions. The last section provides tips for using features within project management and online collaboration tools for recording decisions in an effective and usable way.


Why it's useful

Huge amounts of confusion, frustration, re-work, and lost productivity are caused by lack of clarity about key decisions and decisions that don't "stick." It's simply a good idea to have a standard approach for writing down and communicating decisions as they are made. A team norm of writing down big decisions also helps the team ensure they've actually reached a decision in each instance. The record then documents what got decided, by whom, and why, while all of the parameters and rationales are fresh in everyone's mind. And finally, it provides a valuable reference throughout the project. New team members can use it to get up to speed. The project manager can use it to cut short re-hashing of a decision that was already made. Team members can use it to refresh their memories about why a certain course was chosen. Stakeholders can use it for background on decisions that affect what they'll get from the project.


How to use it

  1. Start a record of Key Decisions at the very beginning of the project. Decision-making on project goals, potential scope, constraints, etc. will begin early, even if only a small portion of the eventual project team is on board so far.
  2. Select a format, or come up with a variation of the examples we provide, that will fit the type of decision-making and records you need for your project.
  3. Agree with the Sponsor and core team members about what kinds of decisions the team should record. The idea is not to record every little decision, which could become overwhelming and defeat the critical purpose of this record. Rather, the goal is to provide an easy-to-reference log of big decisions made on the project. If the record is crowded with lots of little items, its utility will be lost.
  4. Assign responsibility for maintaining the list—usually the Project Manager or a "project coordinator."
  5. Record new decisions in each team meeting and in various project, design, and deliverables reviews.
  6. Keep the list handy in team meetings and reviews, to ensure that new discussions don't threaten to undo decisions already made.
  7. Communicate key decisions to project stakeholders, functional groups, and so forth. Even if you decide to give such people access to all key decisions (e.g. by putting the record online), be sure to separately communicate key decisions that affect them, as soon as they are made. (Of course, they might need to be involved in the decision process if the impact is great.) The list is no good if the right people don't look at it, so make sure listed items are seen by the affected people.
  8. Archive the Key Decisions at the end of the project. This record is an important part of the history. Future projects may need access to it, to understand how scope or design decisions were made.

This template requires a Premium Subscription
Please log in. Don't have a log-in? Sign up now. Already a Member? Log in to upgrade immediately and get the file! A Premium subscription is only $14.95/month or $149/year and gets you over 200 templates, guidelines, and checklists.
15-day free trial period for new Premium subscribers! Learn more
Log in to download this file

Username:  
Password:  





Related Templates
Change Control Form
A form for requesting and documenting changes to the project or to elements within the project. Includes fields for impact of the proposed change on the project timeline, budget etc., and on the components of the project deliverables.

Stakeholder/Influencer Assessment and Communication Plan
Use this assessment form to identify the individuals and groups that may influence your project outcomes – stakeholders, information sources, even other PMs – assess their potential impact (for better or worse) and document your plans for how and when to communicate with them.

Stakeholder Analysis Summary Table
Some of these stakeholders may have competing goals and interests, and many may have limited resources. This stakeholder analysis can help the team schedule appropriate attention to each, and decide how best to mitigate conflicting stakeholder interests when they do happen.



©Copyright 2000-2017 Emprend, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
About us   Site Map   View current sponsorship opportunities (PDF)
Contact us for more information or e-mail info@projectconnections.com
Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Get Our Newsletter
Get our latest content delivered to your inbox, every other week. New case studies, articles, templates, online courses, and more. Check out our Newsletter Archive for past issues.

Follow Us!
Linked In Facebook Twitter RSS Feeds

Got a Question?
Drop us an email or call us toll free:
888-722-5235
Learn more about ProjectConnections, our contributors, and our membership levels and product options.