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Terms of Reference is a Formal Document

June 27 2011

It is a fact that the terms of reference is a very important formal document that is the foundation on which your project will be established. When creating this document, many project managers use a project charter template so all of the important information will be included and in the correct order.

The terms of reference is where the scope of a project is first documented. This is the place that the rest of the project plans use as a reference on just what path the project is to follow during the course of its project lifecycle. This is also the document where all of the parameters of the deliverable will be clearly stated so the project can meet its goals as set forth by the stakeholders.

The project charter templates assist the project manager in creating the terms of reference by providing a preformatted document that has the correct structure this type of document should follow. This includes the clear identification of the project’s vision and all of its objectives.

Other items that have to be included in the terms of reference include the definition of the entire scope of the project. This has to be detailed so there is no ambiguity by anyone reading the document or following it. There also has to a complete list of all the critical projects deliverables that will be the result of executing the project.

The listing of customers and all of the stakeholders are needed to be included in the terms of reference so the responsible parties will be known by all project team members. The project team members will also be present along with their duties, responsibilities with an emphasis on the key roles that will play an important factor in the development of the project.

Basically the terms of reference is the document that has the overall organizational structure of the project in writing so it is understood who, what, when and where the different factors of the project will be completed. This way no assumptions have to be made during the execution phase of the project’s lifecycle that could cause a delay.