A project charter is basically a formal and a short document that tells about a project in its whole— including of what the objective is , how will it be carried out, and the stakeholders who are being involved. Project charter is prepared even before the project is initiated. In brief , It will contain the scope, the objective and the mention of people who will be involved in the project. It gets initiated with the process of elaborating on the roles and responsibilities of each individual participant being involved and also mentions the objectives and goals of the project. The charter also identifies the main stakeholders involved in the project and also defines the authority of the project manager involved .
A project charter is a precise document which explains the project in its whole to the high level management. Project charter defines the project at its whole to even help teams clearly understand the goals, tasks, timelines, and the stakeholders. It is one of a essential deliverable in any project and one of the first deliverables as prescribed by the PMBOK Guide and the other best practice standards available . This document provides all the key information about a project, and it also provides approval to kick start the project. Hence, it also serves as a formal announcement that a new approved project is about to begin. Also the project charter involves the appointment of the project manager of a particular project , he is the person who is overall responsible for the project.
The Key Points about a Project Charter:
The project charter also serves as a reference document to the team. It should define these three main points in its precise form :
- What are the goals and the objectives of the project? How have you plan to reach and achieve these milestones ?
- Why does such a project exist? The charter should communicate its value and reason for existence of every person who is a part of it from the team to the project manager, stakeholders, sponsors, etc.
- Can we give approval to this project? The charter acts as a contract between the project sponsor, key stakeholders and the project team. By knowing individual ‘s responsibilities in the project, everyone is clear of what their duties and roles are for the success of the project.
What do the project charter exactly contain?
When preparing a project charter, one should use a SMART method . Be Precise and specific of what you want to convey, ensure your goals are achievable , Relevant to the project, and Timely.
The project charter contains:
- Purpose and objective of the project in its precise form.
- Requirements of the project at a very high level in a brief way.
- Project description in its explicit form.
- Risks involved in the project
- Schedule of events which will occur during the project with its start and end dates
- Milestones to be achieved along the path.
- Budget of how much the project will cost overall.
- .Key stakeholders in charge of which part of the project and also who will approve it and when.
- An Brief Introduction of the project manager, and the project sponsors being involved.
Usage of A Project Charter?
There are a lot of documents already necessary to run a project. Even before a project is initiated there are many documents to be created, from a project plan to a project budget ,etc. So , why do we need an another document.
This Being your first approval. There are three main uses of this document:
- You need this document to authorize your project. This is the document that sells your project to the stakeholders and defines what their investment will be like.
- It serves as a primary sales document for the stakeholders.
- This is a document which will be there with you throughout the life cycle of the project and you refer it each time.
Example of a One-page project charter :
It is necessary to understand the context completely before creating a project charter. This is to make sure that it describes the background of the project, the different options been considered, the details of the scope,etc. For large projects , an additional one page project charter summary is used. For short projects, this will do.The project charter is also useful when communicating with key stakeholders, who are usually not interested to go through of all the details about the project. The sections involved in the document are:
- The Project Name
- Description of the project
- Target Date to be achieved by
- Costs involved.
- Project Team been involved
- Key Milestones to be achieved
Tips on writing a project charter:
- Rely on insights from your team : Pull some of your project team resourcesto use their brains and think on the goals, milestones, and potential problem areas. Using their insights will help you create a far more accurate project charter.
- Keep it brief: Always keep the project charter simple words and brief. Because the more pages it will contain, the less chances are there that it will get read.
- Be explicit : Try to get to the point as soon as possible. Because Project sponsors and other stakeholders may not show interest in reading a vague summary of the project.
Create a template: After you realize how helpful a project charter can be , you will be involving in all your projects. So, Create a simple template that you can copy and use for all your project charters. It will not only reduce your work but it will also ensure you don’t miss out on any element.