Every project is different. Each has their own unique challenges, objectives, team members, and surprises. One thing is constant, though: There's a lot to manage. To effectively plan and execute a project, a lot of different items need to be investigated, discussed, tracked, and followed up on, and a Master Project Log is invaluable to keeping these loose ends safely tied in knots.
Early in my career as a Project Manager, I had a project that seemed to be as straightforward as they come; it was six months long with only a few team members and was limited in complexity. As a new PM, I felt confident it was going to be a slam dunk and the team would cross the finish line without issue. I quickly learned that no matter how simple, the best-planned projects still encounter risks that need to be watched to prevent further complications. They require changes from the initial scope or budget that couldn't be seen during planning. Action items are captured, and the team discovers issues that need to be managed to resolution. While we did complete the project, I had to keep track of a lot of things that weren't in my original plan.
A Master Project Log keeps the unavoidable surprises that every project yields managed and in a consolidated place for the project team to review and consider. The key components of the log that we use for most projects are: Change Requests, Assumptions, Action Items, Issues, and Risks. The log focuses on capturing what these items are, where they came from, and what's needed to see them through to completion. By keeping them all in a centralized master log, those that need to view and update it can have a one-stop-shop for keeping a pulse on project activity.
In this post, you'll find a copy of the Master Project Log that we use as a starting place for your next project. It's a great way to manage new things that come your way, and it can be tailored to meet the needs of projects that require different things. To download your copy of the Master Project Log template or for a deep dive into each of the areas that are captured in the log, click the download link below.