A man looking at project management planning on a whiteboard.
Image: Christina Morillo/Pexels

Decisions, decisions: We all have to make decisions. Sometimes those decisions don’t come easily. On occasion, we struggle and struggle to come to the right conclusion for an issue.  Hopefully, the vast majority of decisions are the right call. Every so often, however, that conclusion is off the mark.

Whether a decision is right or wrong, sometimes it’s just as important to know how you arrived at that conclusion. With just the right amount of breadcrumbs left behind, your teams and organizations can see what led you to the choice you’ve made and that can be crucial to either the education of your staff or helping those around you understand what happened, good or bad.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

If you use a project management tool such as Jira, there are features that can help you out. In Jira, specifically, there’s a particular document known as the DACI: Decision Documentation Template that can help you from rehashing decisions or arriving at a poorly-considered conclusion. By using this template, you are actually creating a template to help you make future decisions.

DACI stands for Driver, Approver, Contributors and Informed. Developed by Intuit, DACI is actually a popular decision-making model that was designed to improve a team’s effectiveness and velocity on any given project. DACI achieves this by assigning team members specific roles with regard to decisions, hence the acronym. This ownership of responsibilities gives team members ownership over the decision and helps them collaborate on arriving at a conclusion. The DACI template can also help your team members understand how you make your decisions and what your expectations are for them.

But what is each group responsible for?

  • The Driver is the project leader.
  • The Approver is the person with the final say on a given aspect.
  • The Contributors are the people who may be consulted for opinions on the decision.
  • The Informed are those people in the organization who are not directly involved with the decision but want to remain in the know.

If used wisely, this template can make a big difference in your decision-making.

What you’ll need to create a decision in Jira

The only thing you’ll need for this is a valid Jira account. You can use either the free or paid plan, as the DACI template is available for free in all plans.

How to add the DACI template to a project

Log in to your Jira account and select a project to work on. Once you’ve selected the project, you should see a Project Pages link in the bottom half of the left navigation (Figure A).

Figure A

The Jira sidebar within a Software Project page.
The Jira sidebar within a Software Project page.

Click Project Pages to reveal the Create A Page sidebar on the right (Figure B).

Figure B

The Create A Page sidebar in Jira.
The Create A Page sidebar in Jira.

In the Create A Page sidebar, click Decision to reveal the DACI template (Figure C).

Figure C

The DACI template.
The DACI template.

Give the page a title and fill in the page properties, tagging those responsible for the various aspects of the decision. The only requirement at this point is the page title. Once you’ve added the title, you can then click Publish to make the template live.

Once the template is live, anyone who has access to it can start adding content. I would highly recommend you fill out every piece of data and do so with the idea that the more details you add, the easier it will be to see how you, or your team, arrived at the decision.

That DACI page will live in the Project Pages section of your project, which can be edited, shared and even have a child page attached.

That’s all there is to creating a decision in Jira. This DACI template can make a big difference in how your organization navigates future, complicated decisions. Use this template wisely and it could make a number of those complicated decisions decidedly uncomplicated.

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