The Project Charter

The original concept behind the project charter was to document the project manager's authority and responsibility, especially for projects implemented away from the home office. Today, the project charter is more of an internal legal document identifying to the line managers and their personnel the project manager's authority and responsibility and the management- and/or customer-approved scope of the project.

Theoretically, the sponsor prepares the charter and affixes his/her signature, but in reality, the project manager may prepare it for the sponsor's signature. At a minimum, the charter should include:

• Identification of the project manager and his/her authority to apply resources to the project

• The business purpose that the project was undertaken to address, including all assumptions and constraints

• Summary of the conditions defining the project

The charter is a "legal" agreement between the project manager and the company. Some companies supplement the charter with a "contract" that functions as an agreement between the project and the line organizations.

Some companies have converted the charter into a highly detailed document containing:

• The scope baseline/scope statement

• Scope and objectives of the project (SOW)

• Specifications

• The management plan

• Resource requirements and manloading (if known)

• Resumes of key personnel

• Organizational relationships and structure

• Responsibility assignment matrix

• Support required from other organizations

• Project policies and procedures

• Change management plan

• Management approval of above

When the project charter contains a scope baseline and management plan, the project charter may function as the project plan. This is not really an effective use of the charter, but it may be acceptable on certain types of projects for internal customers.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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