What Is A Project Charter?

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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.

A project charter is a short document that explains the project in clear, concise wording for high level management..  Project charters outline the entirety of projects to help teams quickly understand the goals, tasks, timelines, and stakeholders.

The project charter includes:

  • The purpose and objectives of the project in clear, concise language.
  • The requirements of the project at a very high level and without much detail .
  • The project description in a paragraph or two that explains the project.
  • The known risks 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.
  • The 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. Do your homework as much as possible ahead of time while preparing this portion of the document.
  • The 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?
  • The key players or stakeholders. This document decides who will be in charge of which parts of the project, and whose approval is needed for plans to go through.
  • 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.

Components of a project charter

A project charter is a living document outlining the issues, targets and framework of a process improvement effort. A charter should have 6 main components that frame the document. Each of these helps to define the reasons for the project, how it improves the business, what steps are necessary to complete, and the stakeholders responsible for the project. 

List of project charter components

  1. Problem Statement
  2. Business Case
  3. Goal Statement
  4. Timeline
  5. Scope
  6. Team Members

Write your first project charter

Get a little help writing your first project charter. Use our project charter example to get a clear template to use for your projects.

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1 Response

  1. Avatar Linda says:

    Nice read

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