Discover | Charter | Introduction


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In the Charter module, we will review:


  1. What is a Charter?
  2. Why you Need a Charter
  3. Main uses of the project charter
  4. Generally accepted good practices



What is a Charter?


The project charter is the signed document that formally defines and authorizes a project. It may also be referred to as a project statement, project definition or project overview statement (POS), project definition or project definition report.  Agreeing on the nature of a new project, including its scope, objectives, and constraints can be a difficult but necessary process.  It may involve a small or large group of key stakeholders, depending on the size of the organization and the scope of the project.


The project charter should be a short document.  It may refer to more detailed documents, such as a new offering request or a request for proposal, but the charter itself should be brief and clear.



Why Do You Need a Charter?


Without a project charter, project goals may be ambiguous and often understood incorrectly by the key stakeholders, each of whom will have a competing interest in the project. A good charter is a clear outline of expected results and prevents conflicting priorities, role confusion and project failure.



Main uses of the project charter


The purpose of the project charter is to document:

  • Reasons for undertaking the project
  • Target project benefits
  • Objectives and constraints of the project
  • Directions concerning the solution
  • Identities of the main stakeholders
  • In-scope and out-of-scope items
  • High level budget and spending authority
  • High level risk management plan
  • Communication plan


The three main uses of the project charter:


  • To authorize the project – with a consistent and easily comparable format, projects can be ranked and authorized by their expected Return on Investment.


  • Serves as the primary sales document for the project – stakeholders have the charter as a short summary to distribute, present, and use to fend off other project or operational tasks that may drain project resources.


  • Serves as a focal point throughout the project – it operates as a baseline for team meetings and in change control meetings to assist with scope management.