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Shannon Toe

The Benefits of Having a Project Log

Among other benefits, having a project log will help you record your project history and understand any changes made to the project.

When you're working on a project, the smallest change can have a huge impact. And since project management is a team sports, it's important to keep an eye on the ball at any one time. When you're managing multiple projects, the number of balls gets multiplied, and you can no longer stay focused on a match.

What happened to the project scope over the past month? Who made those changes and when?

That's where a project audit log comes in, answering these questions for you.

What is a project log?

A project log is a consolidated place for the project team to track any changes made to the project. It is your way of keeping track of past project information, including—but not limited to—any amends while you were away or relevant details you could miss.

It may be created in a form of a document that keeps track of everything that happens during your project. You record all important decisions, plus information on who was involved and how you came to those decisions.

Why you need a project history log

It doesn’t matter if you have small projects or big, complex ones—you need a project history log, because:

  • A project log helps you keep track of what happened on the project.
  • It records action items and tasks.
  • A project history log helps you learn from past mistakes instead of repeating them.
  • A project log helps you bring new team members up to speed quickly by enabling them to get a quick overview of where things are at in the project and to see related issues that were already addressed, so they don't waste their time revisiting those topics unnecessarily (or make the same mistakes!).

In addition to being useful as an issue log during the development of the project, a completed log can be used in the event that your project fails or does not succeed for some reason. The details in your project log can guide you to reflect, review, and figure out what went wrong, as well as identify what you can do better next time.

To add, you’ll always have to bring new team members up to speed on project history. Even if your team has been working together for years, there will always be a new person starting, a colleague who joined the team halfway through, or a freelancer who is coming in for one part of the project and leaving later.

A project history log ensures that anyone can get up to speed on your project quickly and easily. The first thing they should do? Take some time to read through your log and get caught up!

No wonder, when you have good documentation of your past projects (both their successes and where they fell short), it makes it easier for you to build on those successes and avoid making the same mistakes again. You can use your project log to nail project post mortem meetings as well.

How to create a project log

It’s important to keep a record of action logs throughout a project because it can help give you an accurate picture of progress, help you spot problems early on, and make it easier for new team members to understand the current status and needs of the project. But not all project history logs are created equal. How do you make sure yours is high-quality?

Some project managers document project information manually and ask their teams to do so, Your team members, however, may find that keeping track of every single action can eat up too much of their time. But in the end, not maintaining a project log, can become even costlier.

How you write your project's history depends on what you'd like to capture.

For example, if it's lessons learned during the project, then you can put notes and comments to your project.

If you'd like to track and control changes made to the project plan, it's best for the system you use to capture this information for you.

Fortunately, there are tools that do so automatically as you work your way through the project.

Runn has just introduced the new project history log feature that automatically logs any changes made to assignments, phases, milestones, project rates, project budgets, and project details. Read more about the feature here and try Runn for free.

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