This is a hypothetical scenario:

I was assigned to manage a software development project. I already have an approved project charter, stakeholder registry, requirements documentation and a WBS.

I had a meeting with my development team in order to brainstorm a solution based on the information we gathered so far. During the meeting somebody had a brilliant idea about how to fulfill several difficult requirements.

The question : Is there a PMBOK standard document for this decisions? The WBS dictionary? Scope document? The Project Management Plan? Or somewhere else?

I found at least one similar question about this topic but it provided only suggestions like meeting minutiae and not a PMBOK’s specific answer.

  • This sounds more like a homework question. Did you try reading the PMBOK first?
    – Doug B
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 20:00
  • Lol. Nop! Is a self study question actually and I haven't found the answer so far reading the PMBOK.
    – artificer
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 20:07
  • 1
    What you are looking for is a Decision Log. Whether it's part of PMBOK I don't know, but 30 seconds work with Google will assist.
    – Marv Mills
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 12:46

3 Answers 3


I would argue that if scope/budget/benefits/schedule aren't materially impacted you don't need to document outside of deliverables like requirements documentation. What is material depends on your project, corporate culture, contingency reserves, etc.

Assuming that the brilliant idea will save substantial time/$$/etc, the closest PMBOK comes to is a change request document. See pp87-88 in v4. Once the decision to change is approved you would move forward with updating other project docs (e.g. schedule, financials, WBS, etc) as appropriate.

I'd also caution about "standardization". There are best practices to follow for sure, but if you try a one-size-fits-all approach to governing your projects you will likely end up being a mediocre PM at best. Better is to think through with your business sponsors what is needed, what is not, etc so that there is a level of oversight that makes sense for the business value being delivered.


Critical decision that are made typically come from conflict. It is a great idea to capture them so that, if the conflict arises again, you can access the decision quickly. Not only that, but we suffer from memory loss. And, most of these decisions would be made during a formal meeting of some type so they would typically be captured in the meeting minutes. The problem with that is you cannot find them quickly when needed. So a register of some type, whether you use a spreadsheet or a more sophisticated database, is a good idea.

Decisions like these will typically grow legs and end up as a deliverable change, a CR that may alter the project and its baselines, update to the business case, or whatever. But the source of those changes is good to have, so this is another argument to keep a log.

I don't care if this is in the PMBOK.


So @Marv Mills provided the best real world answer. Decision logs have a long history of use in project management.

However, artificer has indicated this is related to the PMBOK and I would assume study for the PMI. As a recovering PMP I can attest that the real world and PMI answers do not always agree. We call them PMIisms.

Looking over my PDF of the PMBOK, which as a caveat is at least one version old, I think you want to be looking at the Monitor and Control Project Work phase. Here's a few of the summary bullets for this section.

  • Maintaining an accurate, timely information base concerning the project's product(s) and their associated documentation through project completion.
  • Monitoring implementation of approved changes when and as they occur.

This isn't the answer. It should give you a more targeted place to find the answer.

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