What Is a Project Charter Document?
A project charter document formalizes a specific project's existence. It's a key internal document used for project planning. This might sound abstract, but it's important for a couple of key reasons. First, a project charter is a formal document that authorizes the initiation of a project, as well as the project team members to carry it out. Second, a good project charter document also makes sure everyone has a shared understanding of the project itself, outlining key project elements and deliverables.
What Does a Project Charter Document Contain?
- Essential project information such as project name, project definition, project sponsor, project manager, key stakeholders & core project team members.
- Statement of Work (SOW), project background & business case: Provides an overview of the scope of the project, projected deliverables, and project criteria. Be specific about what's motivating your project and why it's necessary (sometimes referred to as business need).
- Project objectives, goals & key project deliverables
- Project schedule & major project milestones: This doesn't need to be set in stone and can be updated in real-time, but should account for the general project lifecycle, major milestones, and end dates.
- Project budget & financial projections
- Project constraints, assumptions, risks & dependencies: Project risks include any known threats to your project's success. Constraints, assumptions, and dependencies refer to other variables that need to be accounted for in your project plan.
- Project success criteria & indicators: Measurable indicators that will clearly demonstrate your project's success. These should always refer back to the purpose of the project.
- Key project authorization & approval documents (can be included in annexes)
What Are The Advantages of Using a Project Charter Document?
A project charter document is an essential component of any large-scale project because it:
- Keeps everyone on the same page. Project charter documents can save you a lot of trouble, and who doesn't love that? They ensure that all parties involved have a shared understanding of the goals of the project, ensuring that there's no confusion on deliverables or criteria.
- Is a powerful project organization tool. Project charter documents are invaluable organizational resources. Project team members and project managers alike will refer back to it throughout the project's lifecycle.
- Indicates project value from the get-go. It's easy for project management to determine your project's value just by glancing at your essential project information and project statement.
- Instills confidence in all parties involved. An excellent project charter template explicitly sets out all the most important parts of a project, well-placed headers and sign-offs included. This shows all parties involved that your project will be a success and should be taken seriously.
Slite's Free Project Charter Template
Are you ready to put together a project charter document for your next project? We're thrilled that we've convinced you. 😏 In even better news, we have a project charter template that you can use to take the first steps in your project charter development process.
Here at Slite, we're passionate about helping you work with your team collaboratively and efficiently. Forget about emailing documents and excel sheets back and forth and use our free template to keep all the key documents you need in one place. What are you waiting for?
How can I get started?
We thought you'd never ask. Start customizing your project charter template by:
🙋🏽 Brainstorming Project Basics
An excellent project charter document starts with a strong foundation. At the beginning of your project planning process, take the time to thoroughly brainstorm all the essential elements of your project. Get all the most important project leaders in a room (or conference call) together and develop your vision collaboratively as soon as you can.
📂 Collecting Key Information
Once you've fleshed out the basic foundational elements of your project, collect all the key information you'll need to get your project charter document together. Remember, be specific. All the elements should answer questions rather than prompt them.
👥 Choosing Your Team
By this point, key project leaders should already be established. Now's your chance to put together your dream teams. Make sure to consider all the different departments, fields, and industries that need to be involved, inside and outside your company.
✔️ Getting Initial Approval
Getting initial approval is what really turns a collection of documents into a project charter. This step normally involves the project manager as well as key sponsors, organizers, and stakeholders.
There you have it! Assembling a high-quality project charter document doesn't have to be an impossible task. Follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to getting your project off the ground. 👏