How to Create a Project Charter

Updated: Jan 10

The Project Charter is a document that specifies that high-level scope of the project and how this project contributes to the overall program strategy. It also identifies who the executive sponsor and stakeholders are as well as the financial benefits to be realized by the project.


What follows is a discussion for each section of the Project Charter. Please keep in mind that Project Charter templates vary from organization to organization so below is a discussion of what's typically included in the Project Charter.



General Project Description

The Project Charter will have some preliminary sections such as Project Name / ID, Project or Program Manager name, and Date of the charter. This is the basic identifying information for the project.


Project Description / Objective

Normally, a brief description of the product or service to be provided is included. Also, known impacts to stakeholders and/or related projects in the program are considered. An example would be: Development of a cloud hosting training solution to 5000 resources across the India division to enable, encourage, and enforce social distancing practices.


Executive Sponsors

Here the business leaders who are authorizing the project are listed. You can include information such as their name and title. If there are co-sponsors, you may also list their name and title.


Stakeholders

In this section, list the people or entities that will benefit from this project. A stakeholder is basically a person with an interest or concern with the project. An example would be the group of resources in the above India division example.



Problem Statement

Describe the Business Case or opportunity that the project addresses. Examples can be taken from current ineffective processes, business concerns, or automation opportunities. An example would be: There are no effective online training programs that can replace face-to-face workshops at our India division. The implementation of this project will assist to facilitate social distancing practices.


In Scope

These are the items related to the project and must be completed by the time the project is concluded. This section is important because everyone from the vendor team to the executive stakeholders need to be in agreement as to what's in scope. They all also must agree that there will be no more scope change to this project without a formal change control.


Out of Scope

The items that are not related and not included in the work of the project are in this section. You might wonder thy this section would be required if we already defined what's in scope. If the items out of scope are itemized, there will be no confusion or assumptions made as to what will not be implemented.


Financial Business Case

Here, the financial analysis is diagrammed specifying the amounts to be invested into the project as well as what financial benefits will be derived from this project. It's more beneficial if this section has images from financial analysis snapshots to help more clearly illustrate the analysis.


Risks

No project comes without risk. The executive sponsors, vendors, and project implementation leads all need to be in alignment as to what the potential impacts of risks are to the project. In this way, if these risks become issues, nobody will be surprised and the risk mitigation process can begin.


Phases and Key Milestones

In this section, the start date and finish date of known milestones are listed. For easy reference, a 3 column table (Milestone/Phase, Start Date, Finish Date). Again, Project Charter templates depend on what your organization has defined.




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