The need for a plan that describes objectives might seem obvious, but many projects seem to start with meetings where tools and standards dominate the discussion, but outcomes, value and expected benefits are not established.
A Project Charter is a standard document in the project management world. It is not a detailed project plan; it is more akin to a project overview. Often its objectives can be described in 5 pages or less. However it requires that the project and management team answer critical questions and get buy-in from the affected parties, before the project gets the green light.
The least you need to know - A project Charter consists of these sections:
- Project name – something meaningful like “On-line event registration”
- Project sponsor – Who wants this project completed “Event Management committee”
- Project manager – who is designated in charge of managing this project
- Background – What is this project about
- Goals and Objectives – point form list of what should be achieved by this project, financially, image, user satisfaction, tangibles and intangibles
- Project key deliverables – point form of everything the project will produce
- Conditions for success – identifying what could cause failure of the project if not managed carefully, like staff sickness and absence, required technology is available, training is performed
- Associated key related documents – any document that impacts the project
- Preliminary budget – point form based on rough estimates of time, internal and external staffing and other overhead costs.
- Project Authorization signatures – agreement from key authority and affected stakeholders.
As you can imagine a project charter is central to management’s decision to proceed. It may also imply key timing requirements that mean resources have to be diverted from a less urgent project for example, so it is a political document.
Even a relatively small project deserves a project charter, simply to ensure that everyone is on-side. Larger projects require a full, detailed project plan and careful monitoring of progress and timing of the individual tasks to ensure on-time and on-budget delivery.
Peter Coy | President | Prodigm Inc. | Toronto
“CRM that Fits”
Peter has a Masters Certificate in Project Management from Schulich School of Business and has managed hundreds of projects for large and small organizations in a long IT career in Development, Design, Sales and Marketing.
Contact: +1 416 564 1446 | email@example.com | www.prodigm.ca