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Establishing a Project Charter: What You Need Before Starting

establishing a project charter

Establishing a project charter is important before you get to work. As the saying goes, measure twice, cut once. In most organizations, before you can get started on a project, it needs to be approved at certain levels. A project charter is a planning brief that helps you pitch the project to decision-makers. A project charter is important because it establishes the project’s legitimacy and allows the manager to define goals and parameters. In the end, all team members will be glad it was established since project charters serve as the definition of how success will be measured

1. Project Objectives 

Project objectives are the critical actions that must be completed in order to carry out your plan successfully. Your project’s goals must always be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Known as SMART goals. Project goals can be tangible deliverables or intangible achievements.

Establishing a project charter helps you define your objectives, helps you communicate with your team, and identifies who is in charge of what goals, allowing you to better meet the quality expectations of stakeholders. Your objectives should include key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as the proposed budget and project completion deadline.

2. Project Scope

The part of project planning that involves determining and documenting the list of specific goals, deliverables, tasks, costs, and deadlines is known as the project scope. A scope statement, explains the project’s boundaries, assigns responsibilities to each team member, and establishes procedures for how completed work will be verified and approved.

If a project is effectively “scoped” from the start, it will be easier for the decision-makers to approve, and it will be easier for you to manage changes as the project progresses. To avoid “scope creep”, stakeholders should be as specific as possible when documenting a project’s scope.

3. Project Budget and Deliverables 

At the beginning of establishing a project charter, indicate the projected cost and intended funding source. This section could also include any additional resources required to carry out your plan.

You should also consider what product, service, or result you will provide once the project is completed. Because project charters can be flexible, expect to make changes to these before you actually start working on the project. Whether they are requested by the decision-makers, or made by you and your team after more preparation. 

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