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Project Charter

Improve roadmap planning process with David Bowman’s information management guidelines for project charter

This site is designed for Information Technology professionals and management consultants who need to improve roadmap planning process and want guidelines for project planning.

It provides a checklist of information management guidelines for project charter and a template to help jump-start a project.

What is a Charter?
A charter authorizes the existence of a project, and provides a  project manager with authority to apply organizational resources to project activities

It includes most elements of a preliminary project scope statement, which describes what is and what is not included in the project and supports decision-making process and is also often used as a communication tool.

Who is responsible for the project charter?

The project charter should be developed by the project sponsor or a manager external to the project team, however a project manager often plays a major role in the development of the charter.

The project manager works closely with the project sponsor, who provides background information for the project e.g. purpose of the project and linkages to business needs, strategic priorities, objectives, and outcomes. The project manager also interviews stakeholders to gain more information in order to develop the charter.

Project Charter Guidelines

Charter Introduction

Change Control
  • Should document any changes and serves to control the development and distribution of revisions to the project charter;
  • Should be used together with a change management process and a document management system; and
  • Should keep an accurate history of the original document that was first approved.
Executive summary
  • Should provide a brief summary of the project in business terms, demonstrating alignment with strategic objectives and vision of the organization;
  • Should also provide clear links between the project and the desired business outcomes stated in the business case;
  • Should provide some background information on the project that includes the reasons for creating the project e.g. business needs or legal requirements, and list the key stakeholders who will benefit from the project results; and
  • Should describe elements that require stakeholder approval e.g. project goals, project objectives, major milestones, key deliverables, primary risks, and estimated total costs.
Authorization

Should contain signatures of the project sponsor, project manager, and other key project stakeholders, confirming that they agree to their roles, the description of the project, and the project deliverables and outcomes presented in the project charter.
Project Overview

Project Summary

Should summarize the entire project charter and highlight the significant points of interest e.g. project goals and objectives, major milestones, key deliverables, key risks, and estimated total cost.
Project goals, objectives, and business outcomes
  • Should describe project goals and link each goal with related, measurable project objectives;
  • Should include measurement criteria for each objective because they will be used to confirm that an objective has been achieved; and
  • Should describe business outcomes to be derived from the project goals and objectives as outlined in the business case.
Project scope

Scope definition
  • Should provide a high-level description of the features and functions that characterize the product, service, or result that the project is meant to deliver; and
  • Should reference the business case if appropriate
Boundaries
  • Should describe the major activities required to successfully complete the project and describe each activity in a way that specifies what is and what is not included in the activity; and
  • Should identify out of scope activities as listing these activities will greatly reduce ambiguity.
Milestones
  • Should identify the significant milestones or events in the project such as phases, stages, decision gates, or the approval of a deliverable; and
  • should include a high-level project schedule.
Deliverables
  • Should list the key deliverables that the project is required to produce in order to achieve the stated objectives;
  • Should include internal project deliverables that are required in the project management process for review and approval e.g. project plan, transition plan, communication plan, and lessons learned; and
  • Should be used to develop the top levels of work breakdown structure, which subdivides the major project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components.
Project cost estimate and sources of funding

Project cost estimate
  • Should summarize cost estimates based on project resources needed to produce the deliverables and meet the agreed-upon objectives;
  • Should use cost estimates from the business case as the basis for this summary;
  • Should identify costs by project phase and show multi-year projects by fiscal year; and  
  • Should identify ongoing costs that are permanently required for operations as a result of the project e.g. additional support, licenses, and hardware maintenance.
Sources of funding
  • Should describe the sources of funding that will be used to support the project; and
  • Should provide clear understanding of where funds come from and the level of resources committed to this project.
Dependencies
  • Should identify if any predecessor or successor relationship exists with another project; and
  • Should list all dependencies in the "Risks" section to ensure monitoring and allow response to a risk as required
Project risks, assumptions, and constraints

Risks
  • Should describe the risks identified at the start of the project; and
  • Should includes a quick assessment of the significance of each risk e.g. probability and effect, and how to address them.
Assumptions
  • Should specify all factors that are, for planning purposes, considered to be true, real, or certain but without including proof.
Constraints
  • Should identify specific constraints or restrictions that limit or place conditions on the project, especially those associated with the project scope such as a hard deadline, a predetermined budget, a set milestone, contract provisions, or privacy or security considerations; and
  • Should classify any constraints by category.
Project Organization

Project Governance
  • Should provide a project organization structure to serve the project and its participants; and
  • Should refers to roles and responsibilities of the project team and it interfaces with all stakeholders.
Project team structure
  • Should show the structure of the project team and stakeholders; and
  • Should clearly identify the names of the project sponsor, project director or manager, and key specialists specialists.
Roles and responsibilities
  • Should defines the roles and responsibilities assigned to the project team members and any stakeholders or working groups that have a significant influence on the project; and
  • Should include responsibilities for all stakeholders, working groups, and committees listed in Project governance and "Project team structure" 
Project facilities and resources
  • Should identify the need for any facilities and material resources such as office space, computer equipment, office equipment, and support tools can involve significant effort and costs; and
  • Should identify responsibilities for obtaining the specific items needed to support the project's development environment.
Project Charter Template

Under Construction  


Summary...


A project charter authorizes the existence of a project, and provides a  project manager with authority to apply organizational resources to project activities

It includes most elements of a preliminary project scope statement, which describes what is and what is not included in the project and supports decision-making process and is also often used as a communication tool.

This site provided a checklist of information management guidelines for project charter and a template to help jump-start a project.