Once a project proposal is written, a project charter is a critical step in the Project Life Cycle of a project that describes the project vision, objectives, scope, organization, and implementation plan. This document helps guide the project manager in the right direction for your project and help gain buy in from your stakeholders as to how the project is organized and will be implemented. The charter also helps the project manager to control the scope of your project by defining exactly what it is that you want to achieve in your project.
Some steps to help you setup your Project Charter are:
1) Project Vision Identification:
- Define what the purpose of the project is and the end goal for the project team. Remember your SMART goals
- Define the project scope. This defines the formal boundaries of the project on how the business will be changed or altered by the project delivery
2) Project Organization: Identify how the project will be structured by listing the:
- Customers: People or entity that is responsible for accepting the deliverables when the project is implemented
- Stakeholders: People or entity within or outside of the project that have a specific key interest or stake in the project
- Roles: List the key roles and primary responsibilities of each involved in delivering the project, such as: Project Sponsor, Project Board, and Project Manager
- Structure: Define the reporting lines that will be used between each of the project roles within the Project Organization Chart
3) Plan of Action for Implementation:
- Implementation Plan: List of phases, activities, and timeframes involved in undertaking the project to increase the confidence level for the customer(s) and stakeholders that the project implementation plan has been well thought through
- Milestones: List of important project milestones (achievement of a key deliverable) and describe why they are critical to the project
- Dependencies: List of key dependencies and level of criticality to the project, which are activities that are likely to impact the project during its life cycle
- Resource Plan: A plan which summarizes the resources involved in undertaking the project by listing the labor, equipment, and materials needed, then budget the financial resources, as needed.
4) Project Risks and Issues: Identify any project obstacles, risks, issues, assumptions, and constraints that might hinder the project implementation and how these risks will be dealt with to be minimized.
Importance of the Project Charter to the Project Manager:
- Defines & Brings Authority to the Project Manager’s Role: It formally recognizes the project manager’s role and gives the project manager the authority to get the project done
- Makes the Project a Project: The project charter formally authorizes the project to exist and to be completed
- Sets the End Goals of the Project: Provides high-level goals and objects that the project should achieve