How do businesses keep track of the rationale for past decisions, and/or the status quo?
When I took over an managerial/administrative role recently, I received a good orientation to most aspects of the job, but of course not everything was covered. For instance, various projects contribute to our indirect costs at different levels. I would like to review that, and understand the rationale for the differing rates (particularly because some project managers are unhappy about it). When I asked one project leader how the figures were determined, he suggested (I believe seriously) that I read the minutes from various meetings to find out the reasons. While that is in principle possible, it seems like a weird way to store this information. It seems like having to learn the rules of chess by learning the history of the development of the rules of chess.
Is there a standard way to record the rationale for business decisions generally? Would there just be a prose document describing why things are as they are? (Is there a name for that?)