Required to be clear and concise, the project charter is never the less charged with setting down lots of information in a high-level document.
Just look at what the Project Charter should cover…
- Project scope
- Project objectives
- Required resources
- Communications plan
- Risk management
- Project monitoring
- Controlling procedures for the project
Anyway you look at it, that’s a lot to cover in one concise document!
A Few Things the Project Charter Should Accomplish
After reading the project charter there should be no doubt who is in charge of the project. It should be clear who has authority. Just making this fact clear is extremely important if the organization has a matrix environment.
When you’ve read the project charter, you should know:
- The purpose of the project
- It’s benefits and objectives
- What project success will look like
- Name of the project sponsor
- A description of the product and deliverables
Points Typically Included in a Strong Project Charter
When the charter has been put together, you should be able to look at it and understand why the project was undertaken. You should know any objections and constraints that are on the project. Main stakeholders should be identified along with target benefits of the project. There should be a clear description of in-scope and out-of-scope items along with a high-level risk management plan and high-level communication plan. Finally, there must be a high-level budget and arrangements for spending authority.
How Can We Know We Have a Top-Notch Project Charter?
There are four signs that you’ve crafted a project charter that can heft the weight of your undertaking:
- Project stakeholders not only approve the charter, but also assign the resources you need to begin.
- The project charter can be used, referenced, and evaluated by even a new executive in your organization.
- Clear decisions are made about who owns the budget and who is managing it.
- The executive team has agreed to be accountable for certain measurable and achievable objectives.
With the rise of Agile practices some may question the value of project managers. However, project managers have had to redefine their role to address changing business needs, often moving upstream to the enterprise level. Project charters remain an important tool to ensure the effective coordination of complex projects and work efforts.