What is a Project Charter, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Project Charter
A Project Charter lists the main goals of a project as well as a detailed plan for how to attain those goals. This detailed plan involves identifying the relevant stakeholders and determining the roles and responsibilities of each individual involved with the project. Notably, a Project Charter is beneficial because it can be created for an existing or future project, making it a useful project management tool. Additionally, a Project Charter is an effective presentation tool for upper-level management, organizational clients, or potential investors and can be used as an accountability mechanism that ensures each member of the project team is doing their job and has a shared understanding of the project.
Description of Project Charter
A Project Charter is comprised of the following elements:
- The ultimate goal the project will serve to accomplish. More specifically, consider a major problem that the organization is facing or an opportunity that arises. Every other element of the project charter should be created with this goal in mind.
- The type of project that will help the organization attain that goal. More specifically, the scope of the project needs to be defined.
- The relevant individuals who will need to be or are already involved in the project. Additionally, define the roles that these individuals will play and for which pieces of the charter they will be held accountable. In this way, the project charter acts as a pseudo contract between the responsible individual and the other members of the project team.
- A timeline for the project, which should include a beginning and end date, benchmarks or sub-steps that need to be accomplished in order to reach the goal, as well as the date each step needs to be completed.
- The business case or purpose for the project. In order to create an effective business case, consider both the financial and service-oriented benefits that the project will bring to the organization as well as the client. Additionally, include in the business case the potential consequences that could incur if the project is not carried out, how the project aligns with the goals of the organization, and the ultimate reason for implementing the project.
- An explanation of how the project can improve employee performance on the job.
- A through list of resources that will need to be attained to successfully implement the project. These resources can be time, money, talent, etc.
- Risks that are associated with undertaking the project, as well as any individuals or organizational policies that might act as an obstacle to project execution. While identifying the risks, determine how your team will address these roadblocks as they arise.
- A clear plan for how the project will be communicated to other organizational members. While developing the communication plan, consider who is heading up each aspect of the project, what the purpose of the communication plan is, where individuals can locate additional information, when and how frequently information will be transmitted, to whom the communication will be directed, and how the information will be communicated to others.
Tools & Templates
A Project Charter can be created using documents, presentation or various software tools.
upBOARD's Online Project Charter Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Project Charter techniques, upBOARD’s online Project Charter collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other project management best practice tools and templates including:
Action Item List, Agile Project Management, Benefits Realization Methodology, Critical Chain Project Management, Critical Path Chart, Critical Path Method, Event Chain Methodology, Extreme Project Management, Gantt Chart, Integrated Project Management, Issue Tracker, IT Roadmap, Lean Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, Plan of Intent (PoI), Plan of Record (PoR), PMBOK Project Management, PRINCE2 Project Management, PRiSM Project Management, Process-Based Project Management, Program Management, Project Budgeting, Project Charter, Project Dashboard, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Project Portfolio Timeline, Project Risk Management, Project Rollup, Project Schedule, Project Scorecard, Project Timeline, Project Tracker, Requirements Breakdown Structure, SCRUM Project Management, Skills Requirement Checklist, Task List, Time Card, To Do List, Waterfall Project Management, and Work Breakdown Structure.