Project charter is the basic requirement for recognizing the purpose of project and its scope. It is the foundation layer of the project. Regardless of the size of the project, charter is required for providing definition and detailed information for better understanding of scope, schedule and cost of project. In their book “Project Management for Experienced Project Managers”, authors Victor Allen and Ron May; have described major components of project charter, brief description of these components is as follows:
- Project Description: It describes the reason for doing the project in one or two paragraphs.
- Project Goals: It is the broad statement of what one wishes to accomplish by the means of certain project. While determining goals of the project it is to be ensured that goals are not mutually exclusive, conflict with other goals, too easy to achieve or too difficult to achieve.
- Project Objectives: It is the list of specified and measurable objectives approximately six to twelve that project is to achieve. Objectives should clearly and specifically identify that what, when and how the specified target should be achieved.
- Project Scope: It clearly defines the work of the project, its outcomes, characteristics and deliverables. It is the most powerful component of project charter, the only condition is that the sub-contents must be clearly and specifically explained.
- Project Deliverables: Deliverables defined at project charter should be high level rather than documents, components, modules or functionality. Project schedule is the right place for these detailed deliverables.
- Project Constraints: While executing the project, those things that can hold the project or restrict the choices are covered under this section of project charter. Budget and schedule are the most common constrains. While preparing the list of constrains one should be careful of imposing artificial constrains that dot really exists.
- Project Assumptions: This section include the things that are considered real or true for the duration of the project regardless of the fact that these things are real or not. These are the rules of engagement for accomplishing the scope established earlier.
- Critical Success Factors: For the success of the project these things are necessary. In absence of these factors the project is sure to fail.
- High level project schedule: It is a summarized schedule that include work breakdown structure and Gantt chart. It provides the key stakeholders with the sense of security that the project manager has thought this through.
- Project Risks: It includes the list of key risks for the project. These are determined by extensive risk analysis.
- Project Cost: Depending on the project duration this section include the summary of capital and expense items by year, quarter or month.
Project charter is critically important because it is the foundation layer of the project. Everything that takes place during the project should be mentioned in project charter. It is the guiding light of the project, during the sate of confusion that where the project is heading the project charter is referred.
It doubles authorization mechanism for senior management. At times it is the formal approval for beginning the project as well as visible symbol of what everyone has agreed on. It acts as the initial communication to all stakeholders defining scope, schedule and cost of the project.
As the stakeholders are the most important parties in every project, their demand should be valued and should be added in project charter. The specific stakeholder demands that must be integrated into the project charter in order to ensure that the correct product or service is delivered in the administrative project closing process might include the identification of customers, sponsors, users etc., bulletize their objectives and interests on separate page with a review that stakeholders achievement will be achieved.
For this mapping stake holders interest and communicating these interest proactively is recommended.