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How to Write a Project Charter – Part 1 (#1 in the series How to Write a Project Charter)
By Michael D. Taylor

What is a Project Charter?

The project charter, sometimes also called a Project Overview Statement (POS), is the signed document that formally defines and authorizes a project. Reaching an agreement on the nature of a new project, including its scope, objectives, and constraints can be a difficult but healthy process for a group of key stakeholders in a corporate environment. For that reason, a project proposal should be written and approved before the project charter is established.

Why Do You Need a Charter?

Without a project charter, the goals of the project will be ambiguous and often understood incorrectly by the key stakeholders, each having a different point of interest in the project. The result is a project beset with conflicting priorities, role confusion, and in many cases, as failed project.

MICHAEL D. TAYLOR, M.S. in systems management, B.S. in electrical engineering, has more than 30 years of project, outsourcing, and engineering experience. He is principal of Systems Management Services, and has conducted project management training at the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension in their PPM Certificate program for over 13 years, and at companies such as Sun Microsystems, GTE, Siemens, TRW, Loral, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Inprise. He also taught courses in the UCSC Extension Leadership and Management Program (LAMP), and was a guest speaker at the 2001 Santa Cruz Technology Symposium. His website is www.projectmgt.com.

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