What is a Team Charter?
Working in a team can be great, especially if all team members work well together. Teams that work together often need to have a direction towards which they are headed and know what is expected from them and the end goal. Team Charter Template helps to recognize this for the team.
If there is no guidance, the team members may likely head in different directions. For this purpose, a team charter may be used, which is a document that defines the purpose of the team – why it exists, how it will work, and what is expected of them to achieve as a team.
In the absence of such a document, the team may end up focusing on the wrong objectives, underutilize or wrongly utilize the available important resources and can fail miserably, which will impact the overall organization as a whole.
Team Charter Definition
A team charter is a document created in conjunction with the whole team that provides a direction to the team while clearly setting out/establishing boundaries. A team charter is usually prepared in the early stages when a team is formed. This helps ensure that the team members are aware of and focused on the right things from the start. Involving team members while preparing the charter is also recommended to ensure their support and buy-in.
A team charter is a road map defined at the beginning of the project to ensure everyone is made aware of the direction in which the team is heading and serves as a reference document when tough times are faced by the team during the course project.
The team charter should provide a concise vision and mission that everyone in the team stands by. To create an effective and successful team charter, it is essential to involve all team members. A well-crafted team charter shows all expectations clearly. It can also solve issues/problems that usually occur during the project and help avoid new problems from arising. Once a team charter is complete, it serves as a guide for the team along the path to success.
Team Charter Template
How to Create a Team Charter
Charters can be created by top management and presented to the team members or vice versa.
- The first thing first gets a template – use an existing template to start your charter. It is always a great idea to start from a template as it can trigger a lot of thought.
- Set the goals and objectives - review your organizational or hierarchy goals – look at your own goals and organizational goals to develop your team's set of goals.
- Draw up team structure – it is a great idea to have a visual team structure to understand where everybody stands.
- Understand roles and responsibilities – important to do this step as you need to who is doing what.
- Share the draft – share the draft with your team and key stakeholders before you publish the document. It is always good to have feedback on the document before you publish it to a larger group.
What should a team charter include, and what are its key elements?
- A team charter should include goals, objectives, and KPIs for the team at a minimum.
- It can also include the team hierarchy, structure, and values.
- The charter can also include roles and responsibilities.
- Additional details like organizational goals and objectives can also be made part of the charter.
- It is recommended that a long term vision be included in the charter. Having a long term vision enables the team to understand what their future will look like.
Though the format of a team charter can differ from situation to situation and from team to team, it generally has the following primary fields to capture the correct objectives.
Team for which the charter is being created
Date when the team charter was prepared
Name of the individual who leads the team
The individual who has funded the project and has an important say in the project decisions.
This is the introductory section of the charter. It notes the team’s existence, the issue/problem which is assigned to the team and asked to solve, how the problem impacts the larger scope/objectives of the organization, and the consequences of permitting the problem to go unchecked. This helps the teams to understand how they contribute to the important and bigger picture. It also helps to get a consensus on the team’s mission and objectives that follow this.
Mission and Objectives:
The mission statement mainly communicates to the team what it has to achieve. It is important for the mission statement should be clear and concise for the guidance of team members along with the project.
Once a mission is set, the next step is to list down the goals and objectives that must be met in the project’s journey to success. They could be milestones or outcomes, but these are a few among the most important parts of the charter.
Clearly defined mission objectives are the foundation for the remaining part of the team charter. It serves as a document to determine the number of members to be assigned to the team and determine the success criteria for projects.
This section of the charter mentions the scope of the team’s charter. This is basically an opportunity to define operational boundaries within which the team is allowed to operate.
This section lists down the names of the team members.
Roles & Responsibilities:
Define the team members and the stakeholders responsible for the project, accountable for the results, those who need to be consulted during the progression, and those who need to be kept informed along the way.
This section lists out the resources currently available to support the team. This might include a facilitator, trainers, or funds.
Serves as an agreement between the sponsor, team leader, and the team members.
Once a team charter is completed, it is essential for the team sponsor/leader to sign it. Signing off the document helps to confirm the top management’s support and commitment to the team.
To summarize, a team charter is a powerful document and provides a common understanding of how a team gets its work done. It helps them to remain focused, thereby increasing the chance of a successful outcome.
Why is a team charter useful?
A team charter documents the key elements for a given team to provide the team with clarity and transparency about their roles and responsibilities.
What are the advantages of developing a team charter?
There are several advantages of creating a team charter -
- All the important KPIs and team cultural values are documented in one place.
- Clarity and transparency to the team as to what their purpose is.
- Opportunity to document the long term vision and future plans of the team.
- The document can be shared with stakeholders and management for visibility.
- Defines roles and responsibilities in the team.