How to Create a Project Charter [+ Template]
Organizations need projects to deliver change and business value. In many cases, projects are now led by “accidental project managers”.
Whilst these individuals have subject matter expertise and leadership skills, they usually don’t have the tools, skills, or training needed for successful project management.
Project Management is not an easy job. A methodical approach is necessary to fulfill the objectives and deliver the results.
Let’s take a look at two foundational questions – What is Project Management? And how do you start a project?
As per the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) definition:
“Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project objectives”.
Onto the next question: how to start the project? First, you need to agree on the goals of the project and the desired benefits with the stakeholders and secure management buy-in.
It’s also important for the project to align with the organization’s strategic goals.
Secondly, you need easy-to-use templates and tools. Not only will this help you to start projects the right way – you’ll also save time!
In this series of articles, I’ll share some Project Management templates to help you manage your projects efficiently.
These articles will help you to develop your project management knowledge and skills and to practice these skills with templates.
In this article, we will discuss the first template of the project, the Project Charter.
What is a Project Charter?
The project charter is a document that formally authorizes a project, assigns a project manager, and provides the authority to apply organizational resources. The approved project charter formally initiates the project.
This document describes the project’s purpose, objectives, and expected benefits.
The project charter should also mention the business case that justifies the project undertaking and required investment.
Different organizations use different names for the same document, for example, Project Definition document, Project Datasheet, Proposal, or Statement of Work.
A Project Charter provides a direct link between the organization’s strategic objectives and anticipated benefits.
The project manager develops this document in collaboration with the sponsor and project requesting organization.
It is advised to start documenting this information early in the project, so everyone is working towards the same goals early on.
What should I include in the Project Charter?
This document should capture high-level information such as:
- Project purpose
- Measurable project objectives and related success criteria
- High-level requirements
- High-level project description, boundaries, and key deliverables
- Overall project risk
- Summary milestone schedule
- Preapproved financial resources
- Key stakeholder list
- Project approval requirements
- Project exit criteria
- The assigned project manager, responsibility, and authority level
- Key deliverables, milestones, and
- The roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the project.
Reference: PMBOK Guide 6th Edition