A good project charter template should contain and provide a comprehensive summary of the essence of the project. It is meant to be a document of agreement between the major stakeholders, the sponsor of the project and the whole team. If you’ve ever seen a sample project charter, you’d know that it is just a short document which actually refers to more detailed documents, such as request forms. It is meant to determine the power of the project manager or project leader, especially in a matrix management environment.
In developing the project charter, the project manager usually takes the lead. He/she will use his/her knowledge, skills, and experience to build up the charter. It involves working with the sponsors and stakeholders, experts on the project (whether inside or outside of the organization), or other professionals who can significantly add to the development of the charter.
The project leader would also have to use helpful methods such as problem-solving, brainstorming, conflict resolution, expectations management and such to develop it. Once it’s signed, it will give the project leader the power to officially carry out the project and make use of funds and resources of the organization to ensure the success of the project.
THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A PROJECT CHARTER
When starting a project, it would be extremely beneficial to develop a project charter first. In order to allow the smooth flow of the project and the success of it, you can develop a charter as the first step in your whole process.
Here are the most important benefits of having a project charter:
- To Make a Clear Outline of the Project Objectives. The project charter gives a clear picture of the whole project and what it’s meant to achieve by the end of it. Clear and business-focused sentences are used to outline the charter and make it easier to understand. It also states when the project is supposed to commence, for the information of the project leader and all the participants.
- To Give Comprehensive Details About the Project Scope. The scope of the whole project needs to be clear. Without definition, the project leader as well as the participants won’t be able to determine the processes and procedures which are already out of the scope of the project.
- To Establish the Timeline of the Project. The whole timeline of the project needs to be established and it is also found in the project charter. Having a proper timeline would serve as a guide for all work-related activities in a project. It is also relevant to track the progress of the work as well as to see if there are any delays. A good project charter example needs to have a timeline with all the tasks written in full detail. In the case of delays, actions to correct them need to be taken to prevent any negative impacts on the project.
- To Specify Any Roles and Responsibilities. It is vital that the roles and responsibilities of the project manager as well as the participants must be known by everyone involved. The project charter specifies what all the members of the project need to do and what they are in charge of. Knowing the duties, roles and responsibilities will aid in the productiveness of all the participants of the project. Having a project charter which is specific will enhance the efficiency of the members, thus ensuring its success.
- To Give an Idea of the Project Approach. It would be vital to know the project approach to have an idea of the functional and technical methods which will be employed. Functional methods could include gathering and sourcing data, setting up requirements, processing, profiling and so much more. On the other hand, technical methods could involve hardware and software setups, IT processes and such. Knowing these approaches will allow for effortless transition and work activities.
- To Be Informed of the Change Control. A good project charter should also spell out the process for change control. In the case of changes which aren’t part of the original scope of the project but are clearly needed for its success, the change control would establish what is needed to be done. In a project charter, a diagram (usually in the form of a flowchart) shows how a change request is routed through all the different stakeholders for their approval.
- To Clarify Issue Management. The process of issue management must be very clear to the project manager. The project leader has the task to manage any concerns which arise throughout the entire project timeline and without issue management procedures, he/she can be easily overcome with all the tasks he needs to cope with.
- Make All Vital Contact Information Available. The project charter must also have all the contact information of the participants involved in the project in case a key member is needed in a crisis and is not in the vicinity. This would also be important in getting hold of the project manager in case the members need advice on an issue regarding the project.