Project Charter Contents

The charter may sometimes be called by other names, such as the project initiation document (PID), scope baseline, or just contract (usually for external work). It may be produced in many forms, such as a narrative document (most common), a fill-in-the-blank form (paper or software application), or spreadsheets for extensive financial justification.

The charter contains the why and what of the project processes discussed at the beginning of this chapter. It should contain brief statements (very brief— don't qualify every phrase!) about the following:

® Objectives: What the desired outcomes are

® Functions: Major features and/or processes

® Performance: Generalized specifications

® Constraints: Limitations of the environment

® Scope: Boundaries of the project

® Costs/benefits: Rough order of magnitude estimates

Be sure to answer the usual questions about a project that uninformed observers tend to ask: What is the reason for the project? Is it to seize an opportunity, solve a problem, increase revenues, decrease costs, or a combination of these? Be sure to have an answer for the typical newspaper reporter's questions: Who? What? Where? Why? When?

Typically, the charter is a short one- to three-page letter, memo, or email document—just enough to secure management or customer approval for the project. Sometimes the charter is labeled as the SPMP and uses its framework but includes only the sections pertinent to the selection process at this early point. Sometimes it is better to make it a separate document and merge it later because executives don't like to see large documents come their way (such as SPMPs with lots of extra sections, revision blocks and change control, specifications, appendices, etc.). Remember that the purpose of the charter is to concisely represent the project at a high level, to get management approval and support (and a signature). From there, you can flesh out the rest of the project planning because you will have the authority of

approved sponsorship (and funding).1—1

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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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