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The Orchestral Project Charter
By Jason Edleman

As we all know, a project charter is a document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project, and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.

All well and good. What does this mean. As Andy Crowe in his PMI PMP certification preparation book ,The PMP Exam, How to Pass On Your Fist Try, The Project charter makes the project manager “large and in charge. For those of us who manage projects on a day to day basis, that is no small responsibility. But, who grants the project manager authority? Let’s look at our orchestra example.

There are around 132 performances a year. At least half of these will be repeats and another 50% will be already in the orchestra’s repertoire. So, how is this a project? It’s not unique, it’s not temporary, and it’s not progressively elaborated. This is where business and art disagree. In the artistic world one would argue that each performance is unique in that no two conductors ask the same of the players, no hall has the same acoustics, and no audience reacts to the music in a similar fashion. For our example, I will make it Even more clear cut: There is to be a world premiere performance of a new work by a contemporary composer.

I digress. the artistic director and the board decide that they will commission a new work from a young and talented composer. A composer is chosen and the piece is to be ready for rehearsal no later than spring. The board has also authorized a conductor to rehearse the orchestra and perform the work in the fall of the same year. Both the creation of the work and it’s rehearsal are both projects. For this example I will focus on the conductor as project manager and assume that the composer will meet his deadline.

A contract is signed with a conductor. The statement of work includes his study of the piece with the composer, a total of 20 rehearsals, and 2 performances. One of the performances will be given in the orchestra’s home performance hall and the other in London. It will be required that the conductor hold rehearsals on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, as the players all have other jobs teaching. Rehearsals are always documented and the results are distributed amongst the members for review.

As we can see from the example, Develop the project charter process step exists with the following inputs: A contract with the conductor, a statement of work on what is expected in relation to the number of rehearsals and performances, the inclusion of enterprise environmental factors in regards to the times the rehearsals usually take place, and, organizational process assets such as the procedure to distribute rehearsal minutes to the orchestra members.

Jason Edleman, PMP is both a composer and an IT Project Manager. You can read more of his music and IT related ideas on http://www.enoughpm.com.

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