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Charter Project Management Tools

March 10 2008

Establish the Project Charter with Project Management Tools

After you have completed the Business Case Project Management Tools and Feasibility Study to select your preferred solution, you’re now ready to define the project that will deliver that solution to your customer. To formally define a new project, you need to document its Project Charter. The Project Charter states the boundaries for undertaking the project by describing its scope, organization and proposed implementation approach.

In some organizations, a Project Charter Project Management Tools may also be referred to as a “TOR” or “Project Definition Report” (PDR). Once the Project Charter has been documented, it is presented to an identified Business Sponsor for approval.

Identify the Project Vision

The first step in establishing the project’s Project Charter is to define the project vision. The vision encapsulates the purpose of the project in a brief sentence and is the defined end goal for the project team. In addition to the vision, you should also describe the objectives, scope and key deliverables, to provide the stakeholders with a clear and unanimous view of the project direction. The following sections explain in more detail how to set a clear project direction.

Vision

To ensure that all stakeholders are working towards a common goal, you will define a short, concise and achievable project vision.

Objectives

Based on the vision, list three to five objectives to be achieved by the project. Each objective should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART).

Scope

With a clear view of the Vision and Objectives of the project, it’s time to create a comprehensive description of the project scope. The scope defines the formal boundaries of the project by describing the elements of the outcome – how the business will be changed or altered by project delivery.

For instance, if the purpose of the project was to deliver a new Financial Management System, then the project would likely result in new roles and responsibilities, system functionality, data, financial processes and reporting procedures. These changes within the business define the true scope of the project. Don’t fall into the trap many Project Managers fall into, using this section to define the scope of the internal workings of the project (such as the phases, activities and tasks). Scope actually describes the project outcome.

To ensure that all of the stakeholders have a clear understanding of the intended project outcome, you need to identify the elements of the business that will be / will not be affected by the delivery of the project.

Deliverables

Now that you have defined the project scope, you need to describe each of the deliverables that the project will produce. Create a list of project deliverables by itemizing and describing their components.

Describe the Project Organization

By defining the vision, objectives, scope and deliverables, you now have a solid view of the purpose of the project and the outcome to be achieved. The next step is to identify the inner workings of the project by listing the customers, stakeholders, roles, responsibilities and structure.

Customers

Identify the project customer(s). A customer is a person or entity that is responsible for accepting the deliverables when the project is complete. Whether your project is delivering to one customer in one organization or multiple customers across multiple organizations, you need to explicitly list the customer entity (i.e. the organization, department or team) and name customer representatives

Stakeholders

Next, you need to identify the project stakeholders with your project management templates tools. A stakeholder is a person or entity outside the project with a specific key interest or stake in the project. For example, a Financial Controller will be interested in the financial implications of the project, and a CEO will be interested in whether the project helps achieve the company vision. Examples of other project stakeholders include: company executives, legislative and regulatory bodies and team members. Use the following table to list the key stakeholders for the project.

Roles

Now that you have identified who has a vested stake in the success of the project, you need to list the key roles involved in delivering the project. Examples of key roles include the Project Sponsor, Project Board and Project Manager. Once you have identified these roles, describe the resource likely to fill them by listing their names, organizations, and details of their assignment where possible.

Responsibilities

It is critical that responsibilities for each of the key roles are agreed upon early in the Project Lifecycle. Summarize each of the primary responsibilities of each role listed in the table above. Note. You only need to provide a summarized list of the responsibilities at this stage; you will define a detailed list when you create project Job Descriptions.

Structure

Once you have a clear view of the key roles involved in undertaking the project, you can depict the reporting lines between each of those roles with a Project Organization Chart.