International Project Management Day




Recommendation Template


Quick Summary
Craft an organized, well documented recommendation to proceed with a given business solution or alternative. It includes all of the key components needed to make an informed decision about whether or not to endorse or approve the recommendation.


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What this is

This template is designed to help you craft a recommendation to proceed with a given business solution or alternative. It includes all of the key components needed to make an informed decision about whether or not to endorse or approve the recommendation.

A recommendation template might be used at any point during a project lifecycle for things like choosing between solution options, deciding whether to proceed with or discontinue a project or solution, etc. Just about anyone can create a recommendation, including business stakeholders within the project, the project sponsor, the project manager, or the business analyst.


Why it's useful

Once an individual or team realizes they can make a recommendation about how to proceed, but that they don't have the decision-making authority to actually implement it, this type of document can help them capture the essential information in a way that makes it as easy as possible for the decision-maker(s) to understand and respond. For team members, this means making better use of people's time by ensuring the recommendation includes answers to commonly asked questions (such as what other alternatives were considered, what could go wrong, what do we do next, etc.). For decision makers, it means consistency, more efficient decision-making, and greater confidence that all the necessary information is available.


How to use it

  1. Identify the scope of the recommendation. What does it cover, and what is out of scope? Since a recommendation document could come at just about any point within a project lifecycle, be sure you clearly understand the scope of the recommendation before getting started.
  2. Identify the audience. Determine who will be reviewing and/or approving the recommendation and what kinds of things they will be looking for. Knowing your target audience will help you focus the recommendation document on what matters most to them.
  3. Divide up the work. Use the natural breakpoints in the recommendation document to divide the work among those who are creating the recommendation, or to organize your own work if you are creating the document alone.
  4. Review it. Identify someone to review the document for you, to look for holes, gaps, or anything that may distract from the recommendation itself. If anything in the recommendation could be contentious, consider discussing those items with your reviewers/approvers in advance, to lay the groundwork or get early feedback.
  5. Present it. Send the recommendation to your decision-makers in advance of a discussion, allowing enough time for them to read it. Then be prepared to present the highlights during a meeting.
  6. Next steps. Incorporate the changes or feedback from the reviewers or approvers, and proceed as directed. Take the input you received from the decision-maker(s), and apply it to the document, the recommendation, or the next steps of the project lifecycle.
About the Author

Sinikka L. Waugh, PMP, is the founder and head coach of the project management coaching firm Your Clear Next Step, L.L.C. Sinikka is an actively practicing project management consultant, known for consistently helping teams find innovative ways to leverage effective project strategies across multiple disciplines and technologies. With over 10 years in project roles (primarily program manager, project manager, and business analyst) Sinikka has successfully applied project and leadership expertise to improve project performance in a wide variety of industries, including publishing, education, product fulfillment and distribution, insurance, event and travel management, human resources, and financial services. As a coach, Sinikka's down-to-earth, "try this now" approach blends with her passion for helping others improve. Her energetic and engaging style helps make both the art and science of project management accessible to those she works with.

Sinikka holds a BA from Central College, an MA from the University of Iowa, and is a certified Project Management Professional through the Project Management Institute.


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