We all want to get our projects off on the right track, but what does that really entail? In Project Insight's How to Start a Project on the Right Track webinar, Diane Buckley, CEO Core Performance Concepts Inc. walks us through some basic statistics on why customers leave and just how often that is related to customer service. Project managers generally own the customer experience and have the most impact on retaining customers. This webinar will help you understand how using a Project Charter can get you started on the right track.

Diane takes time to show us how leveraging the Project Charter will: 

a. Make your clients happier both during the project and with its results
b. Get senior management buy in and introduce the whole team
c. Help you to control the scope of the project

In the PMBOK guide, PMI defines a project charter as “a document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project and provides the PM with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities”. Some companies try to use the Statement of Work (SOW) as the project charter but while it generally contains some of the information needed for the charter, it usually does not include the purpose of the project. The charter could and should be updated throughout the lifecycle and either sent back out to the entire team so they are aware of the changes or put into a tool where the team is notified of changes to the charter.

A Project Charter should contain the following items:

1. Project Description: Including the final product or service. Think of it as what are we doing?
2. Business Justification/Purpose: There is usually a pain point or goal that is being addressed. Think why do we need this?
3. Major Project Components: Include a list of things that will be done. What are the deliverables?
4. Project Objectives: Quantifiable criteria used to measure completion of the project scope. Think the proof, what will you be able to show when you are done.
5. Constraints/Assumptions: Anything holding you back? Any obvious problems you expect to come up? Create a list of known risks.
6. Procurement Items: What needs to be purchased for the project? Software, hardware?
7. Project Team & Stakeholders: Who is involved?
8. Project Support and Authority: Who is in charge?

There are as many different Project Charters in use as there are companies using them. Find out if your company has one. If not, you can download a free sample of a Project Charter here. During part two of this PM in Practice Webinar that will be on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, Diane will go into detail on change management and address getting your organization to adopt Project Charters.

In summary, the goal of the document is to make sure everyone involved knows the what, why, proof, risks and who of your project and to have a way to communicate with everyone on the project as updates are needed. Because as we all know, things do change!

Questions or comments? Feel free to share them below!

You may also like:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti is a Project Management Consultant with over 15 years of experience managing complex website projects. She works with clients in many industries including software development, healthcare and professional organizations. Learn more about Patti on LinkedIn.

Online 2/14/2017
Updated on: