What is a Project Charter and Why is it Important?
A project charter is an essential document in project management that outlines major project objectives and defines the roles and responsibilities. It is a short document that answers what your project’s objectives and goals are, who will achieve the goals, and how the project work will be carried out. From this aspect, it provides a common understanding of the project’s scope, timelines, major project milestones, and tasks. After reading the article, you will understand the advantages of having a well-created project charter. We will also provide you a project charter template example to help you to create yours.
In this article, we cover the following;
- What is a project charter and why is it important?
- What is included in a project charter?
- How to create a project charter template?
- What are the advantages of having a well created project charter?
Now, let’s go deeper into the topic and review the tips to make your project charter as well as possible.
Project Charter vs Statement of Work
A project charter involves the project scope, goals, and stakeholders involved in the project. This formally approved document authorizes the project. Therefore, it gives the project manager responsibility and power to use the resources to accomplish the project targets.
Many people think that the project charter and the statement of work are identical. But it is wrong. The charter documents the project’s scope, development, and objectives. From this point of view, the statement of work is incorporated into the charter.
It is a formal project document that also defines the roles and responsibilities of each party involved in the project. It is prepared during the project initiation.
It is an essential documented authorization for a project. In other words, it authorizes the project to exist and gives the project manager the authority to use resources to perform the project. So that if it is approved by the project sponsor and other designated stakeholders, it becomes the foundation for the project plan.
Advantages of Having a Well Created Charter
We have discussed briefly what a project charter is and what it includes in the above. Now we will discuss the advantages of having a well-created charter from the stakeholders and the project team’s point of view.
- It creates a common understanding for all parties involved in the project.
- It provides information regarding the budget, organization, risks, constraints, milestones, budget, and success criteria of the project.
- Addressed basic project information in the charter helps to save time during the execution of the project.
- It provides clarity for the budget.
- It provides a guideline for the project team.
- It inspires confidence for the project team.
- Working with a well-created charter boosts team morale. It motivates the project team.
What is Included in a Project Charter?
A well-created charter template provides adequate information regarding the project. Below are the basic elements that a well-created charter template should include;
- Introduction & Project Description: Explains the purpose of the charter and includes basic information (Name, Sponsor, Project Manager, Date of Approval) and project description.
- Scope: Describes the major deliverables of the project.
- Business Case: describes the information of a particular business to determine if the project is worth the investment.
- Success Criteria: Defines the success factors for the project.
- Major Project Deliverables: Describes the key project deliverables and requirements.
- Budget: Includes information regarding the project budget, cost estimate, and the spending authority
- Schedule & Key Project Milestones: Includes information regarding the duration, end date, and key project milestones.
- Assumptions and Constraints: Project constraints related to time, budget, scope, quality, etc. And projects known and unknown parameters.
- Major Project Risks: An overview of major project risks that may affect the project goals.
- Project Team & Organization: Includes information regarding core project team members and roles.
- Key Project Stakeholders: Lists the name and the role of key project stakeholders.
- Approval: A space for approval.
A well-created charter also includes additional project documents as appendices such as;
- Lists of deliverables
- Project Schedule or Milestone Schedule
- Communication Plan
You can also check the guides of the Project Management Institute to learn more about the elements of a charter.
5 Tips to Create a Good Project Charter Template
There is no certain process to create a charter. However, below tips may help you to create your own;
#1 : Discuss with your Project Team Members and Key Project Stakeholders
Discussing with your team members, sponsors, clients will help you to gather more information about the project.
#2: Don’t Forget to Take Notes Efficiently
During your meetings with the parties involved in the project, take notes to record the details. Because you will use them later while creating your charter.
#3: Analyze the Templates Existing in the Organizational Process Assets
Organizational Process Assets are the plans, processes, procedures, knowledge bases, and templates of an organization. Before creating your own project charter template, it is a good idea to analyze the charters of your organizations’ previous projects.
You can also analyze templates available on the internet.
#4: Include Specific Information for your Project
Don’t forget to write specific information regarding the goals and objectives of your project. Write details of what your project seeks to achieve, how long will the project take, and who are the core stakeholders.
It is important that the reader should get all the necessary information when he reads the charter. Therefore, a well-created charter should involve clear and specific information.
#5: Review the Charter Before to Get the Approval
Before getting the approval, make sure that it includes adequate and correct information regarding the project. Therefore don’t forget to review the charter with your team members.
A Project Charter Template Example
The below project charter template example may be useful for your project. You can add or remove parts to fit your project.
In this article, we shared a project charter template and discuss the advantages of having this important formal document. We hope that it will be useful for anyone who manages projects. Although you will spend hours creating a comprehensive project charter, it will help you to save time in different phases of project management while you are managing a project. Did you create a charter before? You can share your experiences for creating a charter through the comments box given below.
I am a Civil Engineer in HES Consultancy Limited, experience as Director and Resident of Works and Technical, Financial and Administrative Project Audit. I have skills in the area of Procurement, Tenders and Contracting. I am PMP and PRINCE2 Certified. Monitoring and Control with the Earned Value Method.