Project Management

Distributed PM: Decision Logs

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

One of the outcomes of the recent quarantine is the increase in project managers who are managing a distributed team. Remote project management, where the project manager is in one place and the team is in another, isn’t new—it has been done in the industry for decades. What is new, or at least what has become more prevalent, is distributed management—everyone on the team is in a different place.

Still, while the manner in which we manage projects has evolved, the responsibilities of a project manager have remained somewhat constant, including stakeholder communication, ensuring alignment, and facilitating decision making. These tasks have become more important—and more difficult. It is no longer a reasonable expectation to have all stakeholders in the same meeting, the same place, or even the same time zone as often as they once were. People are much less likely to be present to hear and discuss every possible change of direction or key decision.

One tool to help keep project members and stakeholders informed is the decision log, a simple listing of decisions that were made, why, when and where they were made, and any details that might be relevant.

Keeping a running document of decisions isn’t new, either—project managers have been using them for years. However, in the past, they were more like meeting notes, or reminders of …

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"Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves."

- Bertrand Russell