Guiding On a Project Charter: The Main Business Value and Tips for Its Perfect Creation
The primary target in project management is to set up a streamlined workflow, a flawless execution of all tasks and high-quality communication. Sometimes verbal agreements can not be enough for it – and here comes to assistance such a thing as a project charter.
In our today’s topic we want to consider such aspects as the definition of a project charter and what functions it has, and also we would like to give you some useful recommendations how to make up a project charter in its right form and rule it in a more appropriate way. Get ready for real practical skills!
Project charter philosophy: what it is & what it includes
Well, to start with, let us get off our present subject a bit and remember an ordinary process of a project planning: long and adjusting distance negotiations via letters or calls, the kickoff meeting – it is the initial official meeting between the customer and development specialists, and then all it turns into a certain contracting – how does it actually look like?
Now we come to the main thing: a project charter is the document that presents a collection of all substantive provisions related to the project initialization and also describes the basic responsibilities of a project manager. Putting it in a nutshell, the project charter is a result of all reached agreements between the parties – it literally symbolizes the official start of work on the project.
During the project development works, project charter provides the following functions:
- detailed and accessible project fiche with its main vision and missions, obligatory tasks and their execution order
- basic calculations on the scope of the project, the required resources for its implementation and possible ways of the project’s further support and development
- distribution of roles in the project work and identification of the areas of production responsibility of each employee involved in the project development process
As we noted before, the project charter also contains a clear description of the project manager authorities, his main duties and a preferred way of the project management. Usually, this prescribed functionality is considered not to be extraordinary: as a typical project manager, this employee is responsible for the entire activity connected with the project tasks execution.
However, sometimes the project itself may have some specific features that impact on the end product – so it is important add the necessary obligations for the manager in order to achieve the best expected project results.
Similar or different: Is a project chart equal to a project plan?
Actually this question is rightfully considered to be the arguable point: some of IT experts tend to think that project charter is a kind of a project plan and it consists of the same provisions as in a project plan. But it is a certain fallacy, and it is easy to prove it – please look at the comparison table below:
As you can see, both of these documents are rather different from each other and are made for separate purposes of using, and thus we can deduce the following inferences:
- project charter helps all the involved persons to have a certain document where are the primary settled conditions of the project’s execution, its expected results and the resources required for them; project plan, in its turn, provides the detailed and clarified information about the project development process, and this information a kind of instruction that specialists should directly follow in their work
- project charter contains the basic work requirements, while project plan describes the direct consequences of these requirements – the division of work into stages, the proposed development tools, more precise terms of work execution, etc.
Of course, it is not a mistake if we say that one project document complements the other – when a project plan repeats some points of the project charter. Nevertheless, none of these items can be a substitute or a duplicate for each other. At the same time, both of them are key elements of the entire work, and they are equally important for project planning and its subsequent development.
Tips on how to create the most effective project charter
We have already noted that the value of a project charter is a possibility to give birth the project and to initiate the workflow. And also we have the main components of a typical project charter – but how to combine all these knowledge and make up a right project charter? In accordance with such need, we have collected a bunch of our professional advice that can help you a lot.
Tip 1: Project charter creation is a mutual business
You should remember that the process of a project charter composing is not made by any one person – it is the activity for all the involved employees. As usual, the duty holder is a project manager – he does the great part of the entire work during the long negotiations with a customer and investors, but he really still needs a help. We would recommend to write and confirm the project charter by means of every team member’s labor and efforts. It is critical to indicate all the most important project points, to feel the true direction of an expected work in order to make the further development process more consistent and competent.
Tip 2: Always think about the questions
When creating this document, especially its parts with a definition of the project objectives and planned results, it is crucial to ask yourself many questions. Is the main goal of our project clearly expressed? How correctly is the working strategy reflected? Will this project charter serve as a the project guidance? You should give an affirmative answer on each of your questions, and only in this case your document will be a real point of reference in the entire project.
Tip 3: It is not obligatory to finish a project charter at once
This advice could seem strange a little bit but it is true. In some instances the project can be too multiple and complicated, so it is really impossible to make up the description of its whole structure.
So it won’t be a mistake if you try to create the project charter for any defined part of the project or its preliminary stage – as a result it will be a clear document that means the appropriate start for project work.
Tip 4: Read more valuable information about PM
The phrase ‘it is never too late to learn’ is absolutely actual and relevant here. In order to make up a right project chart, it won’t go amiss to read some useful education literature about project management or look into some useful web sources and professional blogs.
We would really recommend to learn such a popular book as PMBoK – it is the foundation of all what relates to a real project manager’s work.
Also we follow the most popular project managers Youtube channels and have found some interesting and useful videos for your PM guidance:
1. Top 3 Business Skills for Project Managers (by Project Management Videos)
2. Project Charter Fundamentals (by SoftwareManiacLSM)
3. Planning Projects in a Bullet Journal: A Minimalist Layout for Tasks, Events, and Milestones (by Matt Ragland)
There are no doubts that each of the stages of work planning is only the beginning – the real activity is related to its immediate development. But you should remember that any description of the project is an already work on the project, so it is important not to reduce the significance of any official document, particularly project charter.
We would really appreciate your personal contribution to our article – it is interesting for us to know your own working experience associated with the production of project charters and other similar documen