How to Develop Project Charter

What is a Project Charter?

The project charter is the document that formally authorises a project.

The project charter provides the project manager with the authority to apply organisational resources to project activities. A project manager is identified and assigned as early in the project as is feasible. The project manager should always be assigned prior to the start of planning, and preferably while the project charter is being developed.

The point of the charter, other than authorising the project and the project manager, is to officially launch the project and allow the project manager to go about the business of getting the project work planned and then finished.

The project charter needs to clearly communicate all of the following directly or through references to other documents:

Project requirements for satisfaction. The charter must identify what it’ll take to complete the project—in other words, it should identify the metrics for success.

The big picture. The charter should identify the high-level purpose of the project, the business need the project aims to accomplish, and/or the product requirements the project will create.

Project purpose. The charter needs to answer why the project is being launched and why it’s important to the organisation.

Milestone schedule. Milestones are timeless events that show the progress within a project.

Stakeholder influences. The charter needs to identify the stakeholders that will influence the project.

Functional organisations. Functional organisations, such as departments, communities, agencies, and other stakeholders, should be identified and their expected level of participation should be addressed.

Assumptions. An assumption is anything held to be true, but not proven to be true; assumptions about the organisation, the stakeholders, and the project work should be documented in the project charter.

Constraints. A constraint is anything that limits the project manager’s options. Common constraints include deadlines and preset budgets. These need to be documented in the project charter. Or else.

Summary budget. The charter should have a summary budget.

Contract. If the project is being completed for another entity that is an external customer, then a contract is also needed.

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Published by: LMIT

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