What Is a Project Charter?

A project charter is a formal document outlining the project’s scope, purpose, team members, and respective roles and duties. In addition, it outlines the project manager‘s authority, includes a list of key stakeholders, and describes the project’s implementation, potential advantages, risks, and constraints. Typically, the project charter is created at the beginning of a project’s lifecycle and serves as a reference throughout its progress. Typically, the project manager drafts the example charter and delivers it for approval to the project’s stakeholders or sponsors. Once all parties sign the agreement, the project can officially begin. However, the sponsors can reject the charter if they disagree with the project’s stated objectives or money allocation. Under such circumstances, the project manager can discuss the project’s specifics to address the issues. According to statistics, a staggering 97% of firms consider project management crucial to company performance and organizational success.

Benefits of Project Charter

The primary goal of the project charter is to give the project official approval and permission to use organizational resources on it. Without a project charter, the project can stop at any time, and it could be audited as an unauthorized project. Think about a project that didn’t have a project charter. Without a project charter, projects won’t know where to go. The project managers won’t be able to make decisions. No goals will be set for the projects that are done. The objectives of the projects won’t be made clear. If you’re still interested, here are some other things it can do for you.

This clarifies the project’s objective: Because a project charter specifically outlines the business case for the project, everyone is aware of how the project contributes to the organization’s overarching strategic objectives. It ensures that your project is not simply checking off arbitrary boxes but is truly contributing to the business’s overall goals.It assists in identifying your stakeholders: The project charter plays a significant role in developing your project management plan. Still, one area where it is precious is assisting you in identifying essential project stakeholders – early on. As soon as your project charter is ready, you can begin your stakeholder analysis, which allows you to involve essential stakeholders concurrently with developing your project plan.It confers power on the project manager: Okay, “granting” anything can sound a bit medieval. Whether bestowed, bequeathed, endowed, or granted, your project charter grants your project manager official authority over the project. It also establishes its function to the rest of the project team and stakeholders.It’s your true north: Okay, we discussed this before, but it’s essential to repeat it. Your project plan is a great way to see if you’re on track with tasks and deadlines, but sometimes all the little details can get in the way. On the other hand, your project charter is what your project is all about. So, if you’re unsure if something is leading you in the right direction or getting you off track, your project charter helps you and your team cut through the noise and reevaluate whether your work fits your overall goals.

Elements of a Project Charter

The project charter documents certain fundamental aspects, so everyone has a common idea of the upcoming work. The phrase “charter” is used to describe any form of activity, such as defining what a team does. You may also have a PMO charter outlining the team’s work scope. Chartering is a formal project planning activity, and we discuss it in further depth in our Project Management Fundamentals training course. Here are the primary components of a project charter as an introduction.

Project Background: Please include a few paragraphs describing the project’s purpose and the problem it aims to tackle. You can tell why the project was begun. Still, there will be a unique opportunity to delve deeper into advantages later, so keep this part focused on the project’s context and business factors.Project Objectives: Include a list of the project’s objectives. These will likely be stated in the business case if one is present. Some projects begin without a business case, so if you have no further information, speak with the project sponsor. The purpose of establishing objectives is to ensure that everyone understands what the project intends to accomplish. You can include both the broad vision and the specific list of goals. You can also have limits that will determine the scope of the project.Benefits: Create a paragraph outlining the general project benefits you anticipate delivering. Include as much information as possible, or include a link to a publication where readers can learn more about the benefits expected. It is also helpful to add a bulleted list of advantages so that you may refer to it after the project to determine how many were realized. You can include a significant portion of the project charter in the project closing document, as this file compares what you promised to perform (the project charter) to what you delivered.Stakeholders: Typically, the section on stakeholders comprises a significant portion of the project charter. Include the personnel and experience required for the project team, the customer or client representative, the governance framework and who participates in it, and any other key decision-makers. At this stage of the project, you may not know the names of the participants. Thus it is acceptable to keep to roles. You may include titles if you have them, which you would if this was an approved project for a customer because you would know who the client is.Initial Risk: The business case or any conversations may have identified risks and challenges affecting the project. A quick summary of these can be included in the project charter. It doesn’t take long for a skilled project team to identify dozens of risks. Thus the document’s contents should be prioritized. If your risk log is already being compiled as you gather project information, select the top five threats to highlight in the charter and direct readers to your document repository or online project management tools to view the remaining hazards. You can similarly approach problems. Include a handful of the essential issues the stakeholder community should be aware of, followed by a link to where people can access additional information and the remainder of the topics with lesser priority.Budget: You won’t have much specific information on the budget yet, but you may have enough to add a section describing where the funding will come from, how much it will be overall, etc. The breakdown will result from your meticulous preparation and estimation of each task. Save time by obtaining the necessary budget information from the business case. It is doubtful that anything has changed since the business case was authorized, so if one exists, utilize its financial data to enter the budget portion of the charter.Timeline: Again, you will not have a complete project calendar at this stage, but you should include significant dates and milestones where applicable. In a perfect environment, you would complete all estimation and planning before providing anyone with definitive project delivery dates. Nevertheless, in our experience, project sponsors and senior executive teams almost always have expectations regarding when the work will be completed. Clients frequently have strict implementation deadlines, and launch dates may be related to other business events, such as the beginning of a new season or fiscal year. Consequently, you likely have some time-sensitive information to add to the project charter.

Tips in Project Planning

As an entrepreneur, you are constantly engaged in tasks. Whether you know it or not, your job is divided into discrete groups of lessons with a clear objective. In an ideal world, your studies should drive the completion of your projects, and your projects should drive the achievement of your broader company objectives. Entrepreneurs, especially those just starting, often fail to prioritize their initiatives. They attempt to do everything at once. This is a poor plan. It increases stress, diminishes the likelihood that you will complete your tasks, and makes it more difficult to make successful progress toward a corporate objective. To assist you in avoiding this destiny, here are four essential project planning tips to help you begin or improve your project management:

1. Define your projects

The first and most essential step in project planning is identifying the projects involved. What exactly is a project? My definition is anything requiring more than a handful of simple activities and installing the new sales software. That is an endeavor. Are you expanding your network? Yes, that too is a project. Are you expanding your company? That is an assortment of projects! Some of your efforts may be readily apparent, but others will remain unnoticed in the background. To discover all of your projects, list everything you are now working on and everything you would like to be working on. Then, organize this list by precise objectives. This operation should lead you to your project list. You may have 10 to 20 (or even more) tasks on this list, but to be productive, you should select the two to five most significant projects and concentrate on them for the remainder of the time.

2. Date your projects’ beginning and end.

You should know (or determine) each project’s beginning and end dates. This will allow you to sequence tasks by assigning them a priority based on when they must begin or be completed. Start and finish dates will also allow you to plan around your business cycles and avoid initiatives from extending beyond their intended duration.

3. Establish routines for communication

For any project including several team members, establish communication procedures beforehand. Will someone provide weekly updates? Monthly? Will there be a recurrent check-in call for all parties? Who is responsible for ensuring that the project’s milestones are met?

4. Know when and if to quit.

While completing what you’ve started is ideal, it’s vital to stop occasionally. If you have laid out all your projects with a start and finish dates and a clear one-page plan with milestones and communication requirements, you should have all the information to choose when to abandon a project. It is not always simple to stop, significantly if you’ve already invested a great deal of time, effort, and emotion.

How To Develop a Robust Project Charter

The Project Charter is one of the crucial initial phases of the project life cycle. Without a project charter, a project is like a ship without sails; it lacks the resources and direction to move ahead. Before commencing a project, the primary purpose, according to principal project management methodologies, is to create a project charter. The primary objective of creating a project charter is to define the project’s vision, scope, deliverables, execution, organization, and implementation strategy. It provides guidance for the project and aids in gaining buy-in from all stakeholders regarding the project life cycle. The project charter will also assist you in managing the project’s scope by identifying what must be accomplished at a time.

1. Possess an Accurate Measure of Project Vision:

The initial and most crucial stage in drafting a project charter is clearly understanding the project’s vision. The vision describes the project’s aim and provides the project team with an attainable objective. Develop SMART goals with your vision; this occurs when the project’s objectives are clearly defined. Your project’s objectives should be explicit, quantifiable, achievable, genuine, and time-bound (SMART). Once you have written the project’s vision and goals, you must now identify and document the project’s scope. The project scope management identifies how the business environment will evolve throughout the project’s deliverables.

2. Specifying Project Organization

This activity helps to determine the clients and stakeholders, who is responsible for what, and who reports to whom. A client is a person or organization that agrees to the deliverables of a project and signs off on it so that it can begin. A stakeholder can be a person or an organization, depending on what they want from the project. This could be the project owner, team members, project manager, or project sponsor. Now, give everyone their jobs by listing all the critical roles in a project. It can be the project owner, the project sponsor, the Change Advisory Board (CAB), or the project manager. It will help even more if you summarize each member’s responsibility. After documenting the project’s structure in the organization, you can use a project organization chart to make a diagram of the project’s stakeholders and the lines of authority between them.

3. Describing Project implementation:

After establishing the project’s goal and structure, you should now be able to explain the project’s implementation. Implementation of the project should incorporate critical milestones, an implementation plan, dependencies, and a resource plan. Here, the implementation plan will comprise all of the project’s steps and activities, as well as its phases. This instills confidence in the stakeholders that the project has been thoroughly conceived. The following phase for the project should be to create a resource plan, which should cover all resources such as people, money, materials, and equipment.

4. Listing Risks to a Project

This is the final step of the project charter, where you must document any potential risks and concerns that may develop in the future. You will be more prepared for the dangers and have a backup plan if something goes wrong with this activity.


What should a project charter include?

Only three items should be included in a project charter: the project’s objectives, scope, and responsibilities. Create a project plan once your charter has been authorized. Your project plan expands on your project charter to provide a more detailed outline of the project’s essential components.

Is project charter a contract?

The project charter is the key document that outlines the project’s first requirements to satisfy stakeholders’ expectations. A project charter is an agreement between a company dedicated to creating a product or service and a client who wants and receives the product or service.

Is a project’s charter legally enforceable?

Typically, the document is not legally binding. It can be signed for either operational or project work. It is created exclusively for a project. Without external direction, support, or oversight, there is no need for a contract for projects completed internally.

It would help if you now recognized the significance of initiating the new project with a project charter. It is a crucial tool developed to assist businesses in successfully delivering their projects. The objective of the project charter is to authorize the project and serve as a guide. You can adapt the sample charter to your business and project specifications. You can also consult the examples of project charters provided previously. However, ensure that your charter contains all necessary parts. Ultimately, a project charter serves as a guide for you and your business.