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Project Charter Template

        posted by , February 18, 2011

A project charter is a short document that outlines a project -- and asks sponsors to approve project initiation.

Not sure where to start with your project charter? The following simple template may help:

1. Project Description

Explain the project in a way that executives, business sponsors and technical teams will all understand. Keep it brief.

2. Vision

A short value proposition that shows how the project is aligned with overall organizational goals and strategy.

3. Project Scope

Describe the work that needs to be done including technical and business aspects of the project. Don't forgot to talk about any process, business and organizational changes that will be required.

It is just as important to discuss what is out of scope. Stakeholders often have wild expectations for projects — it is important to manage these expectations.

4. Business Case

Quantifiable and unquantifiable benefits of the project. A short elevator pitch is sufficient.

5. Success Criteria

Success criteria provide a framework for evaluating the project. They show commitment to project success and accountability.

6. Stakeholders

List the project sponsors — the people who need to approve the project.

7. Roles and Responsibilities

Propose a organizational chart for the project. This sets expectations about project commitments. Roles can be logical and unnamed.

8. Constraints

Set expectations about challenges facing the project.

9. Milestones

Propose a schedule for high level events such as stage completion, artifact delivery, reviews and sign offs.

10. Assumptions

A project charter is created early in the project before all the facts are known. Assumptions document unknown factors that might affect the project.

11. Dependencies

Project planning will involve a detailed analysis of dependencies. This is a high level beginning to highlight potential issues.

12. Risks

Major project risks — and how you plan to mitigate them.

13. Approvals

If your organization has a electronic approvals process this section may be redundant.

14. Revision History

If your organization tracks revision histories in a document management system this section may be redundant.

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