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7 Essential Elements To Write An Effective Project Charter

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Make Your Project Successful With These 7 Elements In Your Project Charter
A project charter is one of the most critical documents that provides written authorization for a project task to either start or continue to go forward. Put simply, the project charter should be able to identify the project manager and project members, including their roles and responsibilities. It should also define the objectives, key performance indicators (KPI’s) and scope of work clearly to allow project managers to measure the success of the project easily.

Here we are discussing the 7 essential elements to write an effective project charter to ensure robust planning for schedule management –

The purpose of justification of the project
Clearly stating the purpose or business need that your project addresses can be instrumental in creating a strong outline and give everyone enough clarity regarding the project decisions. This also helps project managers build a strong leadership foundation where the entire team is on board in identifying the purpose of project implementation and the expected results.

Ensuring that the project charter has a clearly defined scope with minimum ambiguity helps prevent various project headaches from happening. One of the easiest ways to verify if the project scope is properly defined is to check how well the project team members can articulate this scope to other members of your organization.

Project constraints and assumptions
A large number of project issues in the implementation phase arises from unclear assumptions and project constraints not taken into account. As a project manager, you need to make sure that all such assumptions known by the project management team should be clearly stated within the project charter and intimated to the teams to be a part of the project management plan.

The project charter should also outline agreements between organizations (both internal and external) such as emails, written contracts, letters of agreement and memorandums of understanding, These agreements can cover a range of different aspects of the project including quality, sub-contract work, or funding.

Roles & responsibilities
This seemingly simple step plays a rather crucial role in the project management world and should be an essential aspect of a project charter. It’s extremely important for the successful delivery of any project that makes sure that the leadership along with the members of the project have clarity on who’s responsible for what task, what approvals must go through and so on.

Understanding the risks
There are a number of things that can go wrong in a project. This makes it important to thoroughly identify risks that can threaten the success of the project. Demonstrating such a detailed understanding of the risks increases the strength of the project charter. Identifying the risks at an early stage also helps the project management plan to avoid or respond to them appropriately.

Defining success
The project charter must also include the KPI about how success will look like for a given project. While it is definitely good to accomplish all project goals, it doesn’t necessarily encompass the measurables defining the benefits that the project sought to provide. For instance, If the project’s stated goal is to reduce inventory times, the end goal of reduced time isn’t just enough to declare a project successful. Instead, the KPI defined here should be about how much faster it is now as compared to an earlier time.

Budget
The project budget is an essential element of the charter and should include an estimate of the overall project cost at the time of completion. Apart from the overall cost estimate, it should also include manpower costs and phase budgets along with the covering any buy versus build decisions involved during the project lifecycle.

Project organization
The project charter should also have a complete overview of the task’s organizational structure including the details and contact information for key stakeholders such as project director, project manager, executive sponsor, and the direct reporting manager of the PM. Apart from this, other details generally found in this section include details for finance and lead technical representatives.

Final Takeaway
When compared to other detailed project documents developed after the start of the project, a charter may look like a less important activity. However, a project charter is instrumental in identifying the proper tools, budgets, timelines, and key milestones of a project without which the project can’t kick-start successfully. A well-made and concise project charter that addresses the essentials of a project including timelines, cost, resources and maintaining project schedule while tying back the project goals to the organizational vision, can ensure an extremely successful project launch.

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