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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Elements of a Project Charter

We all know that a Project Charter is the official document that formally authorizes a Project Manager to start work on a project. In other words, a project starts or kicks off only after a formal project charter is created and approved. A typical project charter has many elements. They are:

1. Business need - Describes the business reason for initiating the project, specifically stating the business problem that the project will resolve
2. Measurable objectives and success criteria - Defines the measurable business goals and objectives and factors that are deemed critical to the success of a project. These criteria are used to measure what must be done for the project to be acceptable to stakeholders
3. Project requirements - Describes what is needed to perform the work to the required specifications
4. Product scope description - Describes the product to be delivered and establishes the boundaries of the project
5. Milestones and deliverables schedule - Describes the deliverables which are a set of outputs for each milestone delivery date. This information provides checkpoints for monitoring project progress and validating work
6. Summary budget - Provides an itemized forecast of estimated or intended expenditures
7. Approval requirements - Describes the quality objectives for each deliverable in terms of output standards and approval requirements. This includes all the product-related reviews and processes that will be carried out during the project
8. Nominated project manager - Establishes the authority of the named individual to make decisions and lead the project, and identifies this person's main responsibilities and their authority level
9. Project sponsor approval - Names the person who has ultimate responsibility for the project and who has the formal authority to approve the project charter

Depending on the organization where the charter is being prepared, it may have some more details but the list above is the bare minimum requirement that any project charter is expected to contain in order to serve its intended purpose.

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