Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The decision log as an aid to learning

Dia 91: Decisiones Many projects and many non-project bodies maintain a decision log, to keep track of, and to publish, the major decisions which have been made. Some public bodies publish their decision logs, for example some of the UK police and crime commissioners have public decision logs.

But how helpful are these logs for learning purposes? A simple decision log will record which decisions were made, and by whom, but there is often no way to go back and understand why those decision were made.

If a decision log is to be useful as a learning tool, then it needs to record

  • The decision that was made
  • The alternative options that were rejected
  • Why that decision was made, e.e. the deciding factors that resulted in choosing that particular option
  • The assumptions behind the decision.
The Washington DNR site has a good decision log template, but even that one lacks the "assumptions" column, and often one of the major causes of learning is that our assumptions were incorrect.

So on a busy project, consider the use of a decision log, but make sure you record the assumptions and rationale behind each of those decisions.

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