What is the most important thing to include in a project charter?

The project charter is the foundation of the project, and it is essential that it is well-written and comprehensive. If the project charter is not well-written, it could lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and ultimately, the failure of the project.

The project charter serves as a crucial document that outlines the scope, objectives, and deliverables of a project. It is often described as the "contract" between the project manager and the project sponsor.

The Project Charter is a document which defines what the project is, who the project stakeholders are and how it will be approached. This is usually a more detailed document than the Project Proposal and may be used in lieu of the Project Proposal in some organisations.

The most important component of a project charter is the project's business case. The business case should explain the significance of the project and the benefits it is expected to deliver. It should also include the project's budget and timeline.

Other essential aspects that should be included in a project charter are the project's scope, objectives, deliverables, risks, stakeholders, communication plan, and change management plan. Incorporating these components into the project charter can help to ensure the success of the project.

When creating a Project Charter, it is important to include these elements:

1) Objectives: Clearly define the business benefits that the project will achieve, and establish a process for measuring those benefits.

2) Scope: Provide a detailed description of the project deliverables, such as street lighting, pavement, and kerbing, to ensure that all stakeholders have a shared understanding of what the project will produce.

3) Exclusions: Clearly define what will not be included in the project, such as landscaping and street furniture, to clarify stakeholders' understanding of the project scope.

4) Assumptions: Identify factors that are considered true, real, or certain for planning purposes, such as the secondment of resources, but be aware that assumptions generally involve a degree of risk.

5) Constraints: Identify limitations that will affect the project manager's ability to deliver the project, such as budget, traffic needs, and weather.

6) Related Projects: Describe any dependencies that the project has on other projects that are either being delivered or planned.

7) Project Organization: Document the operational management relationships between the project office and the organization, including the project sponsor's name, the designated project manager and date of assignment, the support and interface coordination to be allocated to the project manager by the sponsoring organization/division, the authorities of the project manager, and the reporting channels of the project manager.

8) Project Management: Document preliminary planning considerations, including a high-level description of the major deliverables and scheduled delivery dates, key resource requirements for the project, budget estimates, and a description of significant risks and a preliminary impact assessment.

The project charter is a comprehensive guide that is typically reviewed by important figures such as the Managing Director, Board of Directors, Chief Financial Officer, and Program Director. Approval from these individuals within the organization is necessary to proceed to the planning phase.

A well-crafted project charter should consist of several essential components, including SMART Project Objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-limited. Additionally, a Scope Statement that defines the project's capacity and what it will deliver should be included. Exclusions should also be identified to specify any tasks or items that are not part of the project.

Another crucial aspect that should be covered in the project charter is Project Assumptions and Constraints. Assumptions are factors that are considered to be authentic, accurate, or specific for planning purposes, while Constraints explore the issues that may restrict how a project is delivered. Risks associated with the project should also be described in detail, covering areas such as safety, financial, political, environmental, and resourcing.

Finally, the project charter should outline the Project Organization and Management. This includes the name of the project sponsor, the designated project manager, and the date of assignment. Additionally, support to be allocated to the project manager, authorities of the project manager, and reporting channels should all be clearly defined.

In conclusion, obtaining approvals is crucial for the project to proceed. Formal authorization from the project sponsor and any relevant parties in the chain of command is necessary. The completion of the Phase involves obtaining all necessary approvals, assigning a project budget and cost center, and filing the Project Proposal, Project Charter, and approval documents for future reference. In summary, the project charter is a vital document that provides a detailed outline of the project's stakeholders and approach to the task. It helps to ensure shared understanding of what the project will entail and sets the project up for success in its Design & Development Phase.


Example:- Prepare a Project Charter to be presented to the project manager.

PROPOSAL TO CLOSE FAIRFIELD ZOO

The scope of this project is to:

  • Close and dismantle the Zoo in its entirety
  • Redeploy all staff to other positions within the companyClear the site of all buildings and other structures except those which are included on the Register of Heritage Items so that the Nirvana Development Company may commence construction of a housing development

Problem

The zoo is an old facility which does not conform to the acceptable international standards for contemporary captive animal management. Closure of the Zoo is deemed to be a more viable alternative to redevelopment

Corporate strategy

Closure of the Zoo aligns with the corporate strategy of rationalisation of theme parks and budget tourism assets.

Business Benefits

Savings for management and maintenance as well as any profits from the disposal of the land and assets will be applied to the total organisation restructure

Business Need

This is a unique initiative and cannot be fulfilled by normal business operations'

Resource Implications

  • A time constraint of 10 months has been set
  • The project must aim to be return a profit
  • Zoo assets currently are $6million
  • The income from the future sale of the land is not available to be applied to this project
  • The delivery of the project will be carried out principally by current staff. Additional specialist resources needed could include vet, demolition, transportation and Human resource counsellors

Key Risks

  • Community backlash in relation to site re use
  • Loss of animals due to the lack of preparation time, age and physical condition
  • Inability to place staff satisfactorily
  • Potential overloading of resources because of the restructure
  • Cost of redevelopment to align with the current requirements would be a significant risk to the organisation if the project did not proceed

And the Project Charter for the proposal to close Fairfield Zoo needs look like this:

Project Name: Close Fairfield Zoo

Project Manager: [Project Manager Name]

Project Start Date: 2023-09-01

Project End Date: 2024-06-30

Project Goal: To close and dismantle the Fairfield Zoo in its entirety, redeploy all staff to other positions within the company, and clear the site of all buildings and other structures except those which are included on the Register of Heritage Items so that the Nirvana Development Company may commence construction of a housing development.

Project Objectives:

  • Close the zoo in a humane and ethical manner.
  • Redeploy all staff to other positions within the company or assist them in finding new employment.
  • Clear the site of all buildings and other structures in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
  • Comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

Project Deliverables:

  • A closed and dismantled zoo.
  • All staff redeployed or assisted in finding new employment.
  • The site cleared of all buildings and other structures.
  • All applicable laws and regulations complied with.

Project Assumptions and Constraints:

  • The project must be completed within 10 months.
  • The project must aim to be return a profit.
  • The zoo assets currently are $6million.
  • The income from the future sale of the land is not available to be applied to this project.
  • The delivery of the project will be carried out principally by current staff. Additional specialist resources needed could include vet, demolition, transportation and Human resource counsellors.

Key Risks:

  • Community backlash in relation to site re use.
  • Loss of animals due to the lack of preparation time, age and physical condition.
  • Inability to place staff satisfactorily.
  • Potential overloading of resources because of the restructure.
  • Cost of redevelopment to align with the current requirements would be a significant risk to the organisation if the project did not proceed.

Project Approvals:

  • The project must be approved by the Board of Directors.
  • The project must be approved by the local government.
  • The project must be approved by the animal welfare authorities.

Project Communication Plan:

  • The project manager will hold regular status meetings with the project team.
  • The project manager will communicate regularly with the Board of Directors, the local government, and the animal welfare authorities.
  • The project manager will create a project website to share information with the public.

Project Budget:

The project budget is $10 million.

Project Success Criteria:

The project will be considered a success if the zoo is closed and dismantled in a humane and ethical manner, all staff are redeployed or assisted in finding new employment, the site is cleared of all buildings and other structures in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, and all applicable laws and regulations are complied with.

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