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Guidelines to a Project Charter within Project Management
By Cora Systems

The Project Charter within Project Management is one of the most important tasks to be assumed to formally authorise a project. The aim of the Project Charter when managing projects and programmes is to detail the overall vision of the project, objectives, scope, deliverables, organisation and the implementation plan. It helps you to establish the direction, organisation and implementation of the project. It will also ensure you control your project scope as you will define exactly what it is that you want to achieve. The format of a project charter can vary, however the aim will always remain the same.

Creating a project charter tends to be easier said than done and shouldn’t be started until there is a full understanding of the project and all the key stakeholders and players have been assigned and meet.

Why should you create a Project Charter?

  • It guarantees that the project manager fully understands the project sponsor’s needs
  • Shows the key project information that is essential prior to the commencement of the project
  • Base the project plan around it
  • Helps keep everyone on the same page

What should be included in a Project Charter?

  • Project Title
  • Project Description
  • Assigned Project Manager
  • Business Case
  • Pre-assigned Resources
  • Stakeholders
  • Product Description/Deliverables
  • Measurable Project Objectives
  • Project Approval Requirements
  • Project Risks
  • Signature and Approval

In order to create a Project Charter a number of steps need to be carried out in order to gain the full benefit of it:

  1. Time: Give yourself an adequate amount of time to create a charter. It could take a week or more depending on the size of the project and the number of people you need to engage with regarding the project.
  2. Set up meetings: Set up meetings in advance with whoever needs to be involved or referred to during the creation of the Project Charter.

  3. Find your Vision, Objectives, Scope and Deliverables:

    • Vision: Identify the overall purpose and end goal of the project.
    • Objectives: Once the purpose is defined, a list of objectives needs to be drawn up. Every objective should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound.
    • Scope: Now you should have a firm grasp of the purpose and objectives of the project it is time to define the scope of the project. The scope will define the boundaries of the project by describing how the business will be changed when the project is delivered.
    • Deliverables: Finally describe each of the deliverables that will be produced by the project.
  4. Organisation of the Project: Next step is to identify how the project will be organised by describing and listing the:

    • Customers (Accept the end deliverables of the project)
    • Stakeholders (Based within or outside the project that have a keen interest or stake in the overall project)
    • Roles (key roles and responsibilities that will be involved when delivering the project)
    • Structure (the hierarchy of the project team)
  5. Implementation of the Project: Following steps A, B, C, D you should now be in the position to begin the implementation of the project. Under this heading falls the:

    • Implementation plan: To ensure that the project has been well thought out an implementation plan should be created to include activities and time frames.
    • Milestones: List the important project milestones (events) and describe why they are important for the project.
    • Dependencies: List the key dependencies that are likely to have an impact on the project.
    • Resource Plan: List the planned resources (labor, equipment and materials) that will be involved in the project and set out the budget for these.
  6. Risks and Issues associated with the Project: Last but not least is to classify the risks and issues associated with the project that are showing at the time.

Following these steps you should have a concrete Charter for your project, helping you to manage the scope and deliver on time and within budget.

Established in 1999, with over 12 years of experience in Project Management Software, Cora Systems have developed a highly functional, web-based system. Our skills and knowledge have enabled us to become a world leader in Project, Portfolio and Performance Management Software. We value our extensive client base and provide a comprehensive range of services to ensure our customers gains the full value and benefits from using ProjectVision.

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