Define These Twelve Sections in a Full Project Charter

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Project Charter holds the information that you uncovered in the project definition process. The Project Charter is written by the project manager and approved by the project sponsor to show that there is an agreement on the work to be completed. The information in the Project Charter typically includes:
  1. Project Overview. State the purpose of the project. Discuss the business benefit of the project and share the overall business goals that this project is helping to achieve.
  2. Project Objectives. List the objectives that the project will achieve. The project objective should support your organization business goals and strategies. The deliverables produced should support the project objectives.
  3. Project Scope. There are two parts to the scope section - deliverables and boundary statements. For each deliverable, provide a high-level description. It is very important to be clear about what things the project could produce, but will not. This will make it much easier to manage scope change throughout the project.

    In addition to deliverables, you should also state any project boundaries. It is a good practice to state scope boundary conditions in terms of both in-scope and out-of-scope statements.
  4. Estimated Effort Hours (resources). Estimate the effort required, and provide information on how the estimate was prepared.
  5. Estimated Duration.  Once the effort hours are known, you can estimate how long the project will take to complete (duration) based on an assumption of how many resources will be applied. 
  6. Estimated Cost. Estimate the cost for labor based on the effort hours, and add any non-labor expenses such as equipment, supplies, training, travel, etc.
  7. Major Assumptions. Assumptions are statements that you believe to be true but you are not 100% certain. Assumptions can be identified through your own experience, brainstorming sessions with the stakeholders; and by looking at items that were identified as low risk in the risk management process.
  8. Major Risks. There may be future external conditions or events that will cause problems to the project if they occur. These are listed as risks if the combination of probability and impact are not acceptable.
  9. Constraints. Constraints are events or limitations that are outside the control of the project team and need to be managed around. They are not necessarily problems. They are not risks since they are 100% likely to occur. They are facts.
  10. Project Dependencies. List any other projects that are in progress or pending that have a dependency with your project. These dependencies are deliverable-based. Don't consider a project to be dependent simply because you might share a resource with it.
  11. Project Approach. You should describe major project phases and milestones, and the general sequence of the work. Also take some time to explain any interesting or out-of-the-ordinary techniques that will be utilized on the project.
  12. Project Organization. The organization chart has boxes that reflect involvement from various stakeholders. List the project manager, sponsor, project team, steering committee, etc.
The Project Charter describes the nature of the project and what you will build. The project schedule tells you how you will produce the deliverables.


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