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  • Writer's pictureRyan Miyaki

A Project Charter: A Blueprint for Project Success

A project charter is like a project's GPS, defining its goals and critical details. Crafting a clear project charter can be a secret weapon for project managers. Let's explore what a project charter is, why it matters, and how to create one.

The charter is the formal document that captures a project's goals, values, benefits, and specifics. Think of it as your project's North Star, guiding you throughout its journey. Stakeholders refer to the charter to ensure alignment with strategic goals and the desired outcome. Because of its importance, it's crucial to include the right details and skip the unnecessary ones.

As with any project document, collaborating with your team and stakeholders early and often is wise. Creating the charter together ensures it addresses stakeholders' concerns and keeps the team on track. Use the business case the reason for starting the project as your guiding principle. Project charters can differ between organizations and projects. Project managers must choose the right type of charter to capture relevant information and set the project up for success. A project charter usually includes some combination of these key points:

  • Introduction and Project Overview

  • Goals and Objectives

  • Business Case, Benefits, and Costs

  • Project Team

  • Scope

  • Criteria for Success

  • Major Requirements or Deliverables

  • Budget

  • Timeline or Milestones

  • Constraints and Assumptions

  • Risks

  • Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

  • Approvals

You'll likely use various project charter formats in your career. For simpler projects, a concise document suffices. For more complex endeavors, additional analyses can go in the appendix. Your organization might offer a template or you might find one during your career. The charter can evolve as the project progresses, which is normal. It's a living document; let it grow with the project, reviewing it regularly to ensure alignment.

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