Decision baselines

Every project, product, business or life has a decision baseline.  A decision baseline is just a snapshot of all of your decisions (fundamental questions that demand an answer or solution), the alternatives that you’ve committed to as your current answer, the rationale for selecting these alternatives and the consequences that flow from these alternatives (implementation tasks, derived requirements, risk mitigation plans).

Every project, product, business or life has a requirements baseline.  It is merely the sum of all the derived requirements that flow from your and your customers’ “ratified” decisions.

Most companies have it backwards.  They spend a great deal of effort on managing their requirements baseline.  They set up Configuration Control Boards (CCBs) to control any changes to the approved set of requirements.  They maintain detailed requirements-to-requirements traceability tables and databases.

They fail to manage the source of these requirements – their decisions.  So when a decision is revisited (or churned – see yesterday’s post) and a new or modified alternative is selected, they fail to capture the flow-down of derived requirements changes on the requirements baseline.   This implies that folks who are designing the various parts of the solution may have an invalid set of requirements to guide their design decisions – they’re still designing to the approved requirements baseline that doesn’t match the real strategy (latest committed decisions).

Decision Management is a discipline of greater value than Requirements Management.  Building a Decision Management capability into your organization can have 10X payoff compared to tweaking your Requirements Management capabilities.  Get to the source – manage your decision baseline!

Discover the value that Decision Management can bring to your organization by starting a risk free trial of the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF). Please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at or

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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