$logger -> log ( “your decision” )

Target audience of short blog is all members of the agile teams.

We all know we should keep all kinds of logs and reports on the projects we do. Fortunately we don’t use PRINCE2 to manage most of our projects, because we would have to keep about trillion documents up-to-date all the time. (Btw. I’ve got nothing against PRINCE2 or PMP and they have appropriate use for certain type of projects. For example highways. :-) )

Anyways, one of the documents to keep is decision log. But why? I clearly needed that field in data model when I added it. It must my absolutely clear that module/package I used is the correct one. Yes, most of the time the decision we make are clear. We have standardised ways of doing things … to some level. But many times there are more options and ways to go, maybe almost equally good. So at that given time you come to a conclusion and go one way. And then after couple of months customer/auditor/reviewer/you revisit that decision and question it … and you’ve got no idea why you decided the way you went. Or even the other way now seems more attractive and makes more sense! I don’t know how about you, but I’ve been there many times.

So making some kind of record of the decisions we make seems to make sense from long term perspective. But we know how it is with documents. We (especially PMs) like to make tons of them (been there, done that). One time it’s a spreadsheet, then it’s a GoogleDoc, another time it’s in AODocs, then someone just sends you a link you can find on next day, and so on and so on. Projects I usually work on use JIRA and Confluence for managing tasks, documentation and workflow. They provide us space for each project, which never gets lost, you don’t need to share documents and links, everyone on the project simply has an access. To the practical part:

When you click that three dots (“...”) sign next to “Create” button in Confluence, it provides variety of different templates and one of them is “Decision”. If you go for it, instead of creating standard page you will see a neat pop-up dialogue with only necessary amount of information to log the decision. Just quickly log it’s status, background, stakeholders and outcome and that’s it. Done in 30 seconds. No settings up documents in AODocs, no sharing, no worrying about formatting, deciding whether you want to keep a spreadsheet or not, nothing - just the action. Isn’t that cool?

Now when the decision is created, the generates regular Confluence page, which you can edit afterwards, e.g. to add further technical background, follow ups, change the status, and … link JIRA tasks! (Btw, did you know you can select any text in Confluence and create JIRA issue from the selection? If you have a table, it will create one issue per row!)

And, added bonus is automatically generated page with list of all decision and their status, which makes really nice overview and allows the team to revisit the decision made at any time.
So whether you’re a PM, developer, tech-lead, BA, or anyone else on the team and you need to make a decision on the project, take the time to log it. Your team mates, BAU guys and yourself will greatly appreciate in future.

Happy coding! :-)