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Project-Charter | Project Digest

Nov. 06, 2011

Permalink 11:48:00 pm, by Michael, 436 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: Project Digest

1.3 Project-Charter

The purpose of a project charter is to provide vital information about a project in a quick and easy to comprehend manner.  Project charters are typically used to communicate scope, purpose, cost, timeline, risks and much more.  Charters can also act as the vehicle to get approval and/or gain "buy-in" for projects or initiatives.

For our project (project digest), we have completed our own charter for two reasons.  1.) To document and organize "Project Digest" and 2.) So that you can observe a few uses of the charter template and witness for yourself how to document different aspects of a project in a concise and consolidated manner.  Below is an image of our charter and a quick overview of few key elements of any project charter.

Project Digest Charter

Key Elements of  A Project Charter

  • Title: All projects need a title or name.  People should be able to reference the work so that others understand the body of work being discussed or addressed.  Project titles should be simple and should capture the essence of the projects purpose or scope.
  • Leadership: Effective projects have well defined leaders, champions and other clearly defined roles.  Unlike our charter example, you should clearly define Champions, Stakeholders, Advisors, Project Leads etc.
  • Purpose: Good charters have specific goals and can clearly state the current state.   You should always have these two components (and their subcomponents) to declare your purpose:
    • Business Case - Describes why the project is important to the business
    • Problem Statement - Declares the problem (current state), the goal, the gap to goal and timeline of closing the gap
      • Primary Metric - Describes the most important measure of success for the project.  It should quantify the the problem statement (baseline, goal & gap).
      • Secondary metric - Describes that which you don't want to sacrafice in obtaining primary metric improvements.
  • Other Important Charter features:
    • Scope
    • Risks
    • Constraints
    • Dependencies
    • Timeline
    • Team (approvers, stakeholders, SME's etc.)

At this point if you have reviewed our charter image, you should have a clear understanding of Project Digest's baseline, goal, gap, timeline etc.  You also have viewed a practical example of the application of a project charter to a live initiative.  If you would like to get our Excel based Project Charter Template or our template in MS Word so that you can use them to apply to your own project, you can download either one for free from our online store.

Next we'll start thinking about our existing process and how we might seek to understand the process, it's inefficiencies and opportunities.  We'll start by using process mapping as a means to help "scope" our project parameters, identify low hanging fruit and much more..

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