We’re starting a new series of posts concerning the project management best practice processes described in the Project Management Institute’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOKⓇ Guide). Our first post concerns Develop Project Charter, the formal start of a project.
What’s the Purpose of Develop Project Charter?
A Project Charter is a short project definition document that formally authorizes the project and gets everyone on the same page before detailed project planning begins. You don’t want to get half-way through planning only to realize that different stakeholders have a different understanding of what the project is about.
What’s in a Charter?
To write a Project Charter, you need to read any pre-existing project-related documentation, such as a contract, business case, strategy document etc. and create a one or two page document containing brief high-level information about the project purpose, assumptions, stakeholders, boundaries, funds available, requirements etc. Remember that this is BEFORE detailed project has begun, so you document things based on what you know now, and then expand on the information later in the detailed project management plan. You can see a project charter template here.
Who uses a Project Charter?
Everyone. Particularly during the early stages of the project before the detailed project plans have been created. The Project Charter becomes the guiding document for the whole project.
Because it’s so important to get this document right, I sometimes compare it to the laying the first tile in tile floor. If you mess up this first tile, the whole floor will be messed up.
Who writes a Project Charter?
The Project Manager usually creates the Project Charter after discussions with the Project Sponsor and other key stakeholders.
Anything else important about Develop Project Charter?
This is also the process that creates the log to capture project assumptions and constraints. Separate from the Project Charter, the Assumption Log is created here and becomes a living document throughout the whole project.
Interested to know more about this process?
Check out one of our project management best practices courses.