Project Charter in Project Management

Project Charter is one of the most important documents of a project. It is created in the Initiation Phase and is one of the Output of Develop Project Charter Process.

PMBOK defines Project Charter as a document that formally authorizes the existence of a project and provides Project Manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.

Important aspects of a Project Charter

  1. It is developed by the sponsor or the project manager in collaboration with the initiating entity.
  2. It is signed by the Project Sponsor or someone from the top management external to the project.
  3. Project Charter may be created by Project Manager. However, It is important to understand that Project Manager does not have the authority to sign project charter and initiate a project.
  4. An Approved Project charter formally authorizes the existence of a project.
  5. It provides Project Manager the authority to apply organization resources to project activities.
  6. It provides the Project Manager with the authority to plan, execute, and control the project.
  7. A Project charter is not considered to be a contract because there is no consideration or money promised or exchanged in its creation.

Content of the Project Charter

  • Project purpose
  • Project title and description
  • Measurable project objectives
  • Project Success criteria or project approval requirements
  • High Level requirements
  • High level project description, boundaries, and key deliverables
  • High-level assumptions and constraints
  • High-level risks
  • Key stakeholders
  • Important Milestones
  • Summary budget
  • Project Exit criteria
  • Details of the assigned project manager, his authority level, and responsibilities
  • Details of Project Initiator or sponsor and others involved in authorizing the project.

Summary

  • Project Charter authorizes the existence of the project.
  • Project manager can create the Charter, but he does not have the authority to sign it. It should be signed by someone external to the project, such as Sponsor or someone from the top management.
  • It provides the Project manager with the authority to plan, execute, and control the project.
  • It has all the high-level details of various aspects of the project – starting form requirements to exit criteria.

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