How to Write a Decision Document: A Comprehensive Guide

Making a business decision can be a daunting task, especially when it involves multiple stakeholders and significant financial implications. But fear not, friends, for there is a tried-and-true method to ensure your decision-making process is thorough and effective: the decision document.

A decision document is a comprehensive report outlining the various options for a business decision, along with the pros and cons of each option, the risks involved, and the recommended course of action. It serves as a valuable tool for decision-makers to clarify their thoughts, analyze the available options, and ultimately make an informed decision.

Now, you might be thinking, “How on earth do I write such a document?” Well, lucky for you, there are plenty of examples available online for your perusal and adaptation. You can find decision documents for everything from selecting a new vendor to major company restructurings.

Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a new manager, a decision document can guide you towards the best outcome for your business. So don’t be afraid to dive in and start writing. Your team, your stakeholders, and your bottom line will thank you.

The Best Structure for Writing a Decision Document

As someone who has made countless decisions in my personal and professional life, I’ve learned that writing a decision document can be incredibly helpful. Not only does it force you to think through all of the options and weigh the pros and cons, but it can also serve as a reference point to revisit in the future.

But what is the best structure for a decision document? Here’s what I recommend:

1. State the problem.

The first step in any decision-making process is identifying the problem you are trying to solve. Be as specific as possible, and make sure everyone involved agrees on what the problem is.

2. Define the decision criteria.

Next, determine what factors are most important in making your decision. This could include things like cost, time, quality, and any other relevant factors. Be sure to prioritize them, as some may be more important than others.

3. List the options.

Now it’s time to brainstorm all of the possible options for solving the problem. Don’t censor yourself or anyone else during this process—just get all of the ideas out there.

4. Evaluate the options.

Once you have a list of options, it’s time to evaluate them against your decision criteria. Be as objective as possible, and try to quantify your assessments wherever possible.

5. Make a recommendation.

Based on your evaluations, choose the option that seems to be the best fit for your situation. Be sure to explain why you are recommending this option, and how it meets the decision criteria.

6. Clearly state next steps.

Finally, make sure everyone involved knows what needs to happen next. This could include action items for specific individuals or teams, timelines for implementation, and any other relevant information.

Overall, following this structure can help ensure that your decision document is comprehensive and effective. It may take some time to work through all of the steps, but in the end, it will be well worth the effort.

Sample 1: Decision Document for Hiring a New Employee

Recommendation to Hire a New Employee

Dear Hiring Manager,

It is with great enthusiasm that I recommend hiring a new employee. The company has been experiencing an increased workload, which has resulted in overworked staff and a decline in performance. Based on my observation, we need an additional employee to help shoulder the load and ensure that we meet our targets.

The new employee will have the necessary skills and experience to hit the ground running. They will work closely with the team to ensure a seamless integration into the company’s workflow. By doing this, we will be able to improve our efficiency, reduce errors, and meet all our deadlines in a timely manner, which will reflect positively on our company’s reputation.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your positive feedback.


[Your Name]

Sample 2: Decision Document for Reducing Operational Costs

Recommendation to Reduce Operational Costs

Dear [Recipient Name],

After carefully analyzing our company’s finances, I recommend that we take steps to reduce our operational costs. Our expenses have been steadily increasing, which has impacted our profit margins negatively. By taking these measures to curb our expenses, we will improve our bottom line while ensuring continued growth.

To achieve this goal, we propose reducing non-essential expenses such as travel, marketing, and office supplies. We will also review our service providers and look for more competitive rates while ensuring that the quality of their services remains high. By doing so, we will be able to reduce our expenses without negatively impacting the quality of our products and services.

I believe that these recommended actions will put us on a better path to success, and I look forward to your thoughts on this matter.

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

Sample 3: Decision Document for Implementing New Policies

Recommendation to Implement New Policies

Dear [Recipient Name],

It is my strong recommendation that we implement new policies in our company. The current policies have become outdated, and we need to ensure that our business practices keep pace with the times.

The new policies will address issues such as work from home, flexible hours, and communication protocols. They will be aimed at enhancing the work-life balance of our employees, which will lead to greater productivity, less stress, and better job satisfaction. By doing this, we will be able to retain our top talent, attract new ones, and improve our organizational culture.

As a team, we stand to gain a lot from adopting these new policies, and I am confident that they will be successful. Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions on this matter.


[Your Name]

Sample 4: Decision Document for Changing Marketing Strategies

Recommendation to Change Marketing Strategies

Dear [Recipient Name],

After reviewing our marketing strategies, I recommend that we make some changes that will help us achieve our targets. Our current marketing approach has not been yielding the desired results, and we need to take a new direction.

The new marketing strategies will include a shift to digital channels, targeted campaigns, and collaboration with influencers. They will be aimed at capturing our target audience’s attention, increasing customer engagement, and boosting our sales. By doing this, we will be able to increase our reach and profitability.

These new strategies have proven to be successful in our industry, and I believe that they will work for us as well. Your input on this matter is highly appreciated.

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

Sample 5: Decision Document for Implementing Safety Measures

Recommendation to Implement Safety Measures

Dear [Recipient Name],

It is my strong recommendation that we implement safety measures in our workplace. Our employees face many hazards and risks, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are protected from harm.

The safety measures will include regular training, protective equipment, and hazard identification. They will be aimed at ensuring that our employees’ safety and well-being are a top priority. By doing this, we will create a safer and healthier work environment and build a strong reputation as a company that prioritizes employee safety.

As a team, we all stand to gain from adopting these safety measures, and I am confident that they will be successful. Your feedback on these changes is highly appreciated.


[Your Name]

Sample 6: Decision Document for Updating Company Policies

Recommendation to Update Company Policies

Dear [Recipient Name],

It is my strong recommendation that we update our company policies. Our current policies are outdated, and we need to revise them to reflect the changes that have occurred over time.

The updated policies will address issues such as diversity and inclusion, disciplinary action, and harassment. They will be aimed at ensuring that our employees feel valued, respected, and supported. By doing this, we will create a better work environment that is conducive to productivity, collaboration, and innovation.

These updated policies have been shown to have positive effects on companies that have adopted them, and I am confident that they will work for us too. I look forward to your input on this matter.

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

Sample 7: Decision Document for Implementing New Software

Recommendation to Implement New Software

Dear [Recipient Name],

After careful consideration, I recommend that we implement new software in our company. Our current software has become outdated, and we need to upgrade it to improve our efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The new software will include new features such as automation, analytics, and mobile capability. They will be aimed at increasing our productivity, reducing errors, and providing better customer service. By doing this, we will be able to gain an edge over our competitors and improve our profitability.

These new features are essential to keeping up with the ever-changing business landscape, and I believe that they will be highly beneficial to our organization. Your feedback on this matter is highly appreciated.


[Your Name]

Tips for Writing a Decision Document

1. Start by clearly defining the problem you are addressing. This should include a description of the issue, when it first arose, and any relevant background information.

2. Identify the criteria for making your decision. This might include budget constraints, stakeholder perspectives, and legal or ethical considerations.

3. Gather all relevant data and information. This might include quantitative data, expert opinions, and anecdotal evidence. Make sure you consider both the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

4. Analyze the data to make an informed decision. Break down the pros and cons of each option, and assess the risks and benefits associated with each. Consider any trade-offs you might need to make and identify the most pressing issues that need to be addressed.

5. Make a decision and outline a course of action. Clearly state the decision you have made and why, and provide a detailed plan for executing the decision. This should include timelines, roles and responsibilities, and any necessary resources.

6. Communicate your decision to stakeholders. Make sure you inform all relevant parties of your decision and explain the rationale behind it. Address any concerns or questions they may have and provide opportunities for feedback as necessary.

7. Monitor the results of your decision. Once you have executed your decision, track progress and adjust your approach as necessary. Be prepared to revisit your decision if new information arises or if it is not producing the desired outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions on Writing a Decision Document

What is a decision document?

A decision document is a written document that outlines all the information related to a decision, the options considered, the reasons for choosing a particular option, and the expected outcomes. It serves as a reference for the decision makers and stakeholders involved.

What should be included in a decision document?

A decision document should include the problem statement, the options considered, the criteria used to evaluate the options, the preferred option, and the expected outcomes of the chosen option. It should also include any potential risks and mitigation strategies.

How long should a decision document be?

A decision document should be concise and to the point. It should be long enough to include all the necessary information, but not so long that it becomes difficult to read or understand. A typical decision document should not exceed 3-5 pages.

How do I write a clear problem statement?

To write a clear problem statement, you should define the problem in simple and clear language. The problem statement should include the following: What is the problem? Who is affected by the problem? Where and when does the problem occur?

How do I evaluate the options?

When evaluating options, you should consider the criteria that are most important to the decision. These criteria can include cost, time, feasibility, impact, and risk. You should also weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each option against each criterion and rank them accordingly.

How do I present the decision in the document?

The decision should be clearly stated in the decision document. You should clearly state the preferred option and the reasons for choosing that option. You should also include any potential risks and mitigation strategies. It is also important to communicate the expected outcomes of the chosen option.

How do I ensure the decision document is readable and understandable?

To ensure that the decision document is readable and understandable, you should use plain and simple language. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may not be familiar to everyone. You should also use headings, bullet points, and tables to organize the information and make it easy to read.

Time for Action!

Thanks for sticking with me until the end! Now you know how to write a decision document that will set you up for success on any project. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your format and make it tailored to your specific needs. Remember, it’s important to communicate those decisions clearly and effectively to ensure everyone is on the same page. As you embark on your next project, keep these tips in mind and don’t forget to visit us again for more helpful advice. Happy decision making!