The Project Charter – What Should Be Included
When you initially charter a plane, you don’t need to provide a seating chart, or list of names to the airline company. You do, however, need to know approximately how many people will be on the plane, how much the trip will cost and where you are going. The Project Charter is much like that for your project.
The Charter is a document that explains the project in clear concise wording without a lot of detail. It’s written for high level management needs. These people do not need all the detail to understand what the end goal is, how long it will take and how much it will cost them.
The project charter includes:
- The purpose and objectives of the project in clear, concise language.
- Requirements of the project, very high level, not much detail here.
- Project description, a paragraph or two that explains the project.
- Risks that you can ascertain for the project. These are high-level because you haven’t drilled down to every detail yet. You need to capture the major categories of risk however, or you will be unpleasantly surprised later.
- Schedule. You will need to provide a schedule of events with the start and end dates. The major events along the path are called Milestones. You should mark the major milestones so everyone agrees on deliverables or activities that can be expected before the end date of the project.
- The Budget. This is a summary of how much the project will cost. You will be wise to do your homework as much as possible ahead of time while preparing this document.
- Requirements from the organization for approval. What must be approved by the governing body of your project? Who will approve and how will you get that approval?
- Key Players or Stakeholders. This will also be a time to bring the important to the project players to the forefront.
- The document will introduce you and your authority level. It will also give the name and authority level of the Project Sponsor.
- When preparing the project Charter utilize the SMART method. Be Specific, ensure your goals are Measurable, Attainable, Relevant to the project and Timely.