Want to Make a Project Charter? Everything You Need to Know

Want to Make a Project Charter? Everything You Need to Know | Project Management | Emeritus

It is often challenging to manage a project. They tend to spin out of control due to factors like scope creep, missed deadlines, and confused team members. The situation is almost akin to stemming the flow of water on a shipwreck. However, it is not a cause for concern since the key to a successful project lies in a simple tool— project charter. So, let’s take a look at the essential elements of a project charter, relevant project charter examples, and how they can help achieve your goals.

What is a Project Charter?

What is Management

Every project would be successful in an ideal world, especially when performed by those with expertise.  The reality is that most projects need help to take off right at the outset. That’s where a project charter comes in. It is a formal document that confirms a project’s existence, enabling the project manager to utilize organizational resources consequently.

The project charter outlines its key elements, such as its purpose, budget, goals, stakeholders involved, and the overall timeline. It is typically created at the project’s inception and distributed among stakeholders and senior management simultaneously.

The project manager should explicitly give an understanding of the project’s scope, objectives, and measures of success in a project charter template. It serves as a reference point throughout the project lifecycle, providing a clear framework for decision-making.

A project charter is a sure-shot way of ensuring that the entire team is on the same page. 

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Importance of Project Charters

A project without a charter runs the risk of turning into a rudderless ship. Here’s why project charters are crucial:

1. Offers Clear Roadmap

Every stakeholder needs a clear understanding of the project’s metrics, timelines, and deliverables to avoid confusion or uncertainty.

2. Defines Authority

Allows the project manager to use resources and make decisions within the defined scope. As a result, it helps manage expectations.

2. Saves Time

A project manager loses time if they are troubleshooting the project. However, a project charter reduces the time because it reduces such incidents.

3. Determines Value

The inclusion of a budget in a project charter can offer insights into whether the project is feasible financially or not.

4. Improves Communication

Ensures smooth execution of the project because the charter involves discussions among key players either at the start or during the project, ironing out any ambiguities subsequently.

5. Mitigates Risk

Helps to identify potential risks and challenges with a project charter. It allows managers to prepare strategies to navigate risks consequently.

ALSO READ: What is a Project Report and How to Create One?

Key Elements of a Project Charter

There is a reason why the following elements are common across prominent project charter examples. These elements not only provide a comprehensive overview of the project but also ensure its success. Let’s find out how:

1. Project Objective Statement

The statement clearly defines what the project aims to achieve during its lifecycle. It is a summary of the project’s purpose and its intended outcomes. The statement follows the SMART principle, which means that they have to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. In other words, the objectives should be well-defined, with clear metrics in place to track progress. They should be achievable within the project’s timeframe and resources and align directly with overall goals within a set timeline.

2. Scope and Deliverables

The scope contains the outline of the project, specifying what is included within its ambit. It allows everyone to have a detailed description of the work in store. On the other hand, deliverables can either be tangible or intangible products, services, or results produced by the project. They help manage expectations and ensure that the project’s scope does not increase over time. Imagine building a mall, the scope would be its overall plan with the number of commercial units, the food court, kids zone, theater, etc., whereas the deliverables will be the mall itself along with the necessary formalities.

3. Stakeholder Identification

Identifying stakeholders is indispensable for project success. It is a list of all individuals, groups, or organizations that are impacted by or can contribute to the project. It covers key stakeholders such as the project sponsor, project manager, team members, customers, and any other external parties. The process paves the way for their interests, expectations, and potential influence on the project, enabling better communication and engagement strategies.

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Creating the Project Charter

An ideal project charter template should be drafted keeping the following steps in mind:

1. Gather Information

The first step involves revealing general details about the project like the name, description, sponsor, key stakeholders, and team members.

2. Choose the Team

Select all the stakeholders and team members who will be involved in the project. Lay down each individual’s roles and responsibilities correspondingly.

3. Specify Your Goals

.List down specific outcomes you want from the project to make sure there is clarity among the stakeholders. 

4. Outline a Business Case

Prepare a pitch for your project at length. It should include details on how the organization will grow based on the project’s success and its potential return on investment.

5. Establish the Scope

Include key deliverables and milestones in the statement, specifically explaining the rationale behind them in detail.

6. Develop a Timeline

It may not be feasible to give a specific timeline but the charter must contain an estimated schedule, giving an idea of the project’s cycle.

7. Define a Budget

Evaluate the estimated cost for every task in the charter in order to present a ballpark figure to make sure the required resources are at their disposal.

8. Identify Risks

 Mention the project risks and explain how they will be addressed and who will be responsible for them.

9. Decide Criteria

Lastly, make a list of the key performance indicators on which the project will be assessed for success.

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Templates for Project Charters

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but the following templates can be tailored to fit the specific needs of the project. Let’s check them out:

1. Basic Project Charter Template

A. Project Name

Provide a descriptive name for the project.

B. Project Manager

Mention the point of contact for this project

C. Last Revision Date

Include the last revision date for team members referring to the charter regularly.

D. Project Purpose

Give the reason for undertaking the project

E. Project Objectives

Note down the list of deliverables and assets to achieve by the end of the project

F. Project Scope

Outline the boundaries of the project’s deliverables and the exclusions.

G. Project Team and Resources

Stipulate who is working on the project and what kind of resources are available.

H. Stakeholders

Reveal the stakeholders and the one who approves the project charter or deliverables.

2. Detailed Project Charter Template

A. Project Title

[Enter the name]

B. Project Objective Statement

  • Objective: [Define the main objective of the project]
  • Goals: [List Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals]

C. Scope and Deliverables

  • Project Scope: [Define the boundaries of the project]
    • Inclusions: [List the included elements]
    • Exclusions: [Mention the excluded items]
  • Deliverables: [List the key ones]
    • [Deliverable 1]
  • Milestones
    • [Milestone 1]: [Description and due date]

D. Stakeholder Identification

  • Project Sponsor: [Name]
  • Project Manager: [Name]
  • Stakeholders: [List key ones]
    • [Name] – [Role/Interest]

E. Timeline

  • Project Start Date: [Enter date]
  • Project End Date: [Enter date]

F. Budget

  • Initial Budget Estimate: [Enter the amount]
  • Detailed Budget Breakdown:
    • Personnel Costs: [Enter number]
    • Material Costs: [Enter figure]
    • Other Costs: [Enter amount]

3. Agile Project Charter Template

General Project Information

Project Name 
Project Champion 
Project Sponsor 
Project Manager 
Stakeholders 
Expected Start Date 
Expected Completion Date 

Product Details

Executive Summary 
Authorization 
Objectives 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Project Charter

product management1. What is a Project Charter, and Why is It Important?

A project charter is a formal document that details a project’sobjectives, scope, stakeholders, and resources. It provides a clear framework, aligns stakeholders, secures necessary resources, and establishes the project manager’s authority This prepares the platform for successful project execution.

2. How Do I Create a Project Charter From Scratch?

. Define the project name, description, sponsor and manager, identify stakeholders and their roles, and set SMART goals. Moreover, do not forget to outline the business case and define the project scope and deliverables. Provide a timeline along with an estimate of resources.

3. What Should Be Included in a Project Charter Template?

 The title,  objectives, scope and deliverables, stakeholder identification, timeline, budget, and risk management are some key elements that should be included in a project charter template. It should also contain the name of the project manager, besides approval signatures.

4. Are There Different Types of Project Charters?

The short answer is no. Project charters aren’t inherently different from each other. However, the content can be modified to the project’s nature. For instance, an IT project charter might delve deeper into technical details than a marketing campaign charter that focuses on messaging and target audiences. They all serve the same purpose in ensuring coordination and clarity for project success.

5. Where Can I Find Examples of Project Charters for Reference?

The Internet is a good place to start your search. Several platforms offer multiple examples of project charters for reference. Online project management sites, professional organizations’ websites, and project management books are a few obvious choices. Additionally, many project management software platforms offer templates and sample project charters. You can also explore online courses related to project management, which often include examples of project charters used in real-world scenarios.

Elevate Your Career With Emeritus

In conclusion, the project charter is a critical tool in every project manager’s arsenal. Most organizations undoubtedly expect professionals to possess this skill. Emeritus offers a range of project management courses designed to help you upskill and take control of your career. These courses are curated to allow busy professionals to balance their work commitments. In fact, they will equip you with practical insights with which you can lead projects to success. So, enroll today and commence your journey toward success!

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Mitaksh has an extensive background in journalism, focusing on various beats, including technology, education, and the environment, spanning over six years. He has previously actively monitored telecom, crypto, and online streaming developments for a notable news website. In his leisure time, you can often find Mitaksh at his local theatre, indulging in a multitude of movies.
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