More templates

Project Charter Template

A project charter document formalizes a specific project's existence. It's a key internal document used for project planning.

What is a project charter?

A project charter is a formal document used for project planning that allows the start of a project and makes an idea or initiative become a real project. A project charter document is a key internal document used for project planning.

Why is a project charter important?

A project charter document is 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.

Why you need a project charter?

What is included in a project charter document ?

1. Essential project information

Information such as project name, project definition, project sponsor, project manager, key stakeholders & core project team members.

Example

  • Project Name: Groundbreaking Project
  • Project Sponsor: Charlie Brown
  • Project Manager: Snoopy

2. Statement of Work (SOW)

This 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).

Example:

A specific, concise overview of the scope of the project, the motivations behind it & the most important deliverables.

3. Project background

Giving more context on the "why" of the project and what we are assuming to achieve.

4. Business Case

A proper business case helps validate the purpose of the project and gives more validation to the time and resources spent on it.

Pro Tip: Be specific when it comes to your statement of work. This might seem obvious, but defining motivations at the project start can go a long way in terms of future planning and avoiding problems down the road.

5. Project objectives and goals

To make sure everyone is aware and tuned-in with the goals.

6. 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.

7. Project budget & financial projections

This helps get an overview of the assumed costs and be aware of the project budget.

8. 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.

9. 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.

Example:

-Indicator 1

-Indicator 2

-Indicator 3

10. Key project authorization & approval documents

These documents are valuable to make sure everyone has access to the project resources

Example

  • Current Date: December 1st, 2020
  • Date of Project Authorization: TBD

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.

Pro Tip: This is especially important when talking about the scope of the project.

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.

Project charter examples

IT project charter example

Try Slite's Project Charter Template

Consulting project charter example

Design project charter example

How can I create a project charter document?

We thought you'd never ask. Start customizing your project charter template by:

1. Brainstorm 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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?