Project Charter Definition
The project charter is the “green light” for the project. The moment a customer or client places the project order, the preparation phase ends and the implementation phase begins.
Other common terms for defining the project charter are project order, project contract or project agreement.
Before the Project Charter
If the project is still in the idea phase, it is important that a project can be created as easily as possible in a project management solution - this does not require much information. As soon as a project has been set out concretely and a project charter is created, it pays off to formulate it as detailed as needed and to invest plenty of time, because the project charter is important to organize working tasks within the project.
A Project Charter Ideally Contains
1. Project name
The project name is the working title for the project, which serves as a reference for the parties involved.
What is the project about? (Hint: If project goals and measures are broken down into separate items, the summary should be limited to 2-3 sentences.)
3. Project type
What type of project is it (e.g. customer project, infrastructure project or innovation project)?
4. Classification and context
This point refers to #3 and can clarify the business case: for example, whether the project is primarily concerned with complex tasks, or if it has strategic relevance or is deliberately risky.
This section considers start date, (planned) end date and important milestones.
6. Start and end event
Are the kick-off and goal achievement of the project linked to special events? If so, which are they and how will their occurrence be verified?
7. Project goals/non-goals
Main goal, subgoals, secondary goals and important milestones are recorded here. Similarly, project non-goals that should not or may not be achieved. (Hint: How project goals are formulated correctly, read here.)
Project team, internal management and customers are named, including function and if necessary, contact details.
9. Project planning overview
The main tasks at the first planning level and their respective duration can be outlined and entered in an organizational chart.
10. Resources & budget
The last point provides a rough overview of the required project resources (internal and external) and the budget.
After the Project Charter
Once the project charter has been signed, the concrete planning starts. At the same time, the charter serves as a guideline for the entire project duration. It summarizes context, project goals, resources and dates in a clear manner.