Amongst the huge array of Project Management Tools, the Project Charter is one document that holds a special niche for itself. It is the primary tool for paving the pathway of the whole project. The Project Charter, also termed as the Project Initiation Document (PID), Project Definition and Project Overview Statement (POS), gives a detailed affidavit of the scope, goals and team members involved. Several Project Management Tools are available as templates for the creation of this document.
Quite simply put, it gives an overview of the way the entire project will be approached. It includes
- Primary Specifications of the Objectives
- Project Scope
- Targeted Profits
- Time Schedule
- Team Participants
When creating the project using top-down methodology, the Project Charter is the first milestone a project manager has to surpass. It starts by formally specifying the authorization details. In this segment, project alternatives are graded by the Return on Investment. Only after careful analysis of all the factors responsible, the key stakeholders and project manager opt for the most feasible option. The overall project objective is agreed upon. The goal must be specific, attainable and relevant to customer needs. Project’s task dependencies and its resources – both human and operational are also identified. The Project Management Tools employable are also agreed upon.
The next segment is the scope statement which provides a clear and transparent chronicle of the major activities to be performed. Often the features and services are also mentioned to maintain comprehensibility. The scope, priorities, business demands and constraints, legal issues, technological progressions are penned down. The list of both intermediate and end deliverables to be submitted to the customers is cited.
The project manager can avail Project Management Tools for all of these. “Soft” project requirements are defined, that is, the requirements are subject to change during the planning process. A specific document detailing these requirements is also created. Avoiding “Scope Creep” is a major concern. Therefore, out-of-scope activities also find a place in this document. This lessens the possibility of exceeding the scope.
After the project manager and structured management hierarchy is authorized, the template tool provides the milestone summary of the project schedule. Each project component is listed along with the person responsible and a strict timeline. Constraints and boundaries that can affect the project schedule are also given. These pertain to schedule, funding, legal and social regulations and quality standards.
The project’s financial support and budget are a mandate for this document. The funding sponsors are acknowledged along with the cost constraints. Concerning this rationale, all the risks and assumptions are presented to the clients and sponsors. Assumptions may include availability of resources, information and participants’ skill set. Every risk possible is identified, scrutinized and quantified. Risk management strategies can also be mentioned.
Internal and external communication scenarios are stipulated for lucidity between the team and clients. Meetings are scheduled and also online communication methods are specified. A project status report is submitted to the stakeholders periodically. Supplementary issues addressed are success metrics, project priorities, technical support, change control, spending authority etc.
The Project charter can be seen as a focal point of the entire project. The exemplary project charter document remains constant throughout the project lifecycle and acts as a compass that steers the project in the right direction. The usage of all the other Project Management Tools depend on this document.