What is a Project Charter?
A Project Charter is a formal, concise document that outlines the project's objectives, scope, stakeholders, timelines, and overall strategy. It serves as a foundational reference point for all stakeholders involved in the project, including team members, sponsors, and management.
Project Charter Template PPT
About Project Charters
- The inception of every project is a Project Charter. In the Initiation phase, the Project Charter is issued by the project sponsor, and it defines the existence of the project.
- It captures high-level project planning details like business need, scope, milestones, dependencies, risks, and required resources.
- The Charter is an important document that gives the project manager the authority to commence the project and acquire the required resources to support the project activities.
- In some cases, the project charter is signed off by the Project Sponsor, while in some others, there may be a group of approvers (all stakeholders) who need to sign off for the document to be considered approved.
- Once approved by the defined approvers, it cannot be changed or modified unless agreed by all the parties involved.
- This Project Charter Template/document helps identify the project's major stakeholders and sets clear expectations on the project goals. It is used as a reference document throughout the project.
Why do we need a Project Charter?
Do not underestimate the value of a project charter as just yet another management document. Having a project charter template PPT provides your project with the following benefits:
- Formally authorizes the project.
- Creates a vision and a shared understanding of the project.
- Empowers the project manager to lead the project.
- Identifies the high-level objectives and scope of the project.
- Defines what will success look like.
- Enables support for the project to be gained.
- Ensures that key stakeholders are aware of the project.
- Secures budget and resources for the project.
- Serves as a point of reference for the project team.
Project Charter Template
What should a good project charter contain?
While most project management methods and frameworks prescribe the use of a project charter of some sort – either called one-pager, charter, or mandate -, there is no defined composition for its template. However, a principle to consider is that any good Project Charter will help you clarify the What, Why, Who, When, and at What Cost of the project.
According to the PMBOK® Guide, these are covered by the following sections in a Project Charter:
Includes the ID and name of the project, name of the project manager, and project sponsor
Business need, problem, or opportunity:
What is the main driver for this project to exist? What is the context from which it was born?
Project Objectives and Benefits:
What are you trying to achieve with the project? Try writing your objectives as SMART objectives – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bounded
Describes the governance of the project, including key roles for its management and direction
High-level project scope:
At a very high-level, the project charter should be able to outline the boundaries of the project, i.e., what will be in scope and out of the project's scope, as well as key deliverables to be created by the project.
High-level project timescale:
At a very high-level, the project charter should list the key stages and estimated duration for the project and its key milestones.
High-level project budget:
At a very high-level, the project charter should identify the project's budget requirements, including capital and revenue expenditure forecast.
Main assumptions that may impact the project if proven false
Key project risks:
Main risks that may impact the project if they materialize
Key measures to assess the success of the project
To make your life easier, I’ve produced a simple project charter template that you can download here. Ready to use!
Best Practices when Writing a Project Charter
Writing a Project Charter can be time-consuming, particularly if not done properly; thus, here’s a couple of tips to help you steer your project towards success from its very beginning:
- Keep it brief: Trust me, the more pages a document contains, the less chance it will get read. Try to keep your Project Charter simple and brief. After all, it should capture key, high-level information!
- Be explicit: No one cares or is enthusiastic about a vague summary of a project. Get to the point as early as possible and make it explicit.
- Build it with your sponsor: While theory advises that the Charter should be handed over by the project sponsor to the project manager, in reality, it is often the project manager to writes the Project Charter with the support of the Sponsor. Whatever the model, the involvement of the sponsor is fundamental.
- Get it signed-off: Until you get the Charter signed-off by your sponsor, the project is not formally authorized. No Charter, no project.
- Share it: One of the main benefits of a Charter is that you can gain support from the project and ensure a shared understanding of what the project is about. Be proud to share your Charter with your team and key stakeholders!
Project Charter Word Template
About Project Charter Template PPT
- Project Title: This field specifies the name of the project.
- Project Start and End Date: This field specifies the timeline to complete the project.
- Project Manager: This field indicates the project manager who has the authority to execute the project.
- Project Sponsor: This field indicates the Project Sponsors who have initiated the project.
- Business Need: This field captures the need for initiating the project. It helps to understand and specify WHY the project is being undertaken.
- Project Scope: This field defines activities that are within the scope of the project. Items that are out of scope can also be mentioned in this field to set clear expectations.
- Deliverables: Every project undertaken will result in a tangible or intangible outcome. This field indicates the deliverables/goals that are expected to be achieved by this project.
- Risks and Issues: Very often, major risks and issues foreseen at the beginning of the project are indicated in this field. For, e.g., Delays due to Data Dependencies on external teams, personnel working on the project proceeding on planned leave resulting in a delay in the project timelines.
- Assumptions and Dependencies: Very often, assumptions and dependencies are made at the start of the project when certain events are expected to occur during the course of the project, which may result in a delay of the project timelines. Project activities that are dependent on each other need to be clearly stated in this field. For, e.g., Data discrepancy may be an assumption where large amounts of data are involved, dependencies on Infrastructure teams for the hardware.
- Milestones Schedule: This field indicates the major milestones the project aims to accomplish and the target completion date for each milestone. The charter can track the progress of the milestones against the target dates mentioned in the document.
- Budget/Financials: Every project has a set budget, and this field specifies the cost that will be incurred to undertake this project.
- Project Team: States the personnel/members required to work on the project, including the sponsor, project manager, and other required resources.
- Approval Committee: Every project charter needs to be approved by a defined set of approvers, including the sponsor and other stakeholders. A project charter is considered approved once signed off by all the approvers.
To summarize, as per the Project Management guidelines, the project charter template PPT is a document that formally authorizes a project giving the project manager the authority to execute the project and obtain the required resources. This is a point-in-time document signed by all stakeholders and can be used as a baseline for future project changes.
The Project Charter is the key document in the Initiation phase of a project. It is the first opportunity that the project manager has to build the right foundations for the project. Grab the chance to cause a great first impression with a great Project Charter!