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Free Project Charter Template and Infographics

Published
19th Feb, 2024
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    Free Project Charter Template and Infographics

    When we start a project, the number of documents required can be overwhelming, and the project manager might be unsure of which document to start with owing to the limited time available. Well, this is when you need a project charter. A project charter is a living document that gives a bird's eye view of the entire project and officially authorizes the initiating of a project. Take digital Project Management certification course to boost your knowledge.

    What is Project Charter?

    A project charter is a concise document containing details about the project's scope, the roles and responsibilities of the people involved, the benefits of the project, the key stakeholders, and the project manager's authority. In a matrix environment, a project charter helps establish the project manager's authority. Along with project management charter template, check the Project Charter Infographics. Let us now discuss a step-by-step process of how to write a project charter. Earn PMP certification to boost your knowledge of project management.

    1. Identify the Scope of the Project

    Identifying the boundaries of the project in clear terms about what it includes and what it does not. It is important to be as clear as possible when it comes to the scope as this helps us build the entire charter and plan eventually. There is room for scope creep when we are not crystal clear about our scope.

    Scope creep is when a project’s requirements and scope keep increasing as a result of frequent and constant changes in the deliverable. This can be avoided if the scope is clear at the beginning of the project.

    2. Identify the Objectives of the Project

    It is important to know what we want to achieve by the end of the project. The objectives should be easy to specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and stick to the timeline. Try to skim down to 5 main objectives that you aim to achieve by the end of the project.

    3. List Down the Deliverables

    It’s important to identify the outputs or end result to be delivered at the end of the project and the success criteria for a result to be accepted as a deliverable.

    4. Identify Stakeholders and Customers

    People or groups that have a keen interest in successfully completing a project are called stakeholders. They can be within the organization or external to the organization. It’s important to ensure that the project charter appeals to the stakeholders as they decide whether a project will be taken up. The project charter should be like a sales pitch for the stakeholders so that the project receives the full support of the stakeholders.

    5. Identify the Resources Required

    It’s important to identify all the resources needed to complete the project or a phase of a project. Resources can include equipment, machine, people, materials, etc. Not just identifying the project manager should have a rough idea of the quantity of each resource required as well.

    6. Estimate the Budget Needed to be Allocated to the Project

    Once we have identified the resources and quantity required, the next step is to estimate the funds that are needed for the successful completion of the project. The budget can change as the project progresses so an estimate at the beginning is a good place, to begin with. It is also important to identify the person responsible for the approval and allocation of the required funds.

    7. Identify your Team

    Once your budget and list of resources are in place, identify your project team and start organizing them with the help of an organizational chart. This chart is helpful in listing down their names, roles, and responsibilities. It is also useful to establish reporting relationships using this chart.

    8. Timeline and Milestones

    A timeline is a bird’s eye view of the project schedule and mentions the milestones, project life-cycle, and expected completion date of the project.

    It’s important to identify important milestones throughout the project life-cycle. It helps in estimating if the project would meet its timeline and budget.

    9. Identify the Dependencies, Constraints, and Risks

    • Dependencies: Factors that will impact the initiation or completion of a project. 
    • Constraints: Factors that will hinder the progress or limit the project. 
    • Risks: Uncertainties that can negatively impact the successful completion of a project. It is important to identify the most impactful and probable risks so that the team can take suitable measures to mitigate the negative impact of a risk. 

    10. Organize a Meeting for Writing the Project Charter

    Hold a meeting with key stakeholders, customers, and team members, and start drafting the project charter. Please keep in mind the elements of the project charter listed above while developing the charter.

    11. Share the Charter with Others

    Once the charter is finalized, share it with the project stakeholders and project sponsors for review and suggestions. Also, share the charter with your team members or maintain it in a common project repository so they can refer to it throughout the project life-cycle and for direction.

    Free Project Charter Templates

    Every project will have a different structure according to the needs and requirements of a particular project. The templates are provided to help you create a blueprint of the template that can be tailored according to the project. Check project charter template example below:

    1. Team Project Charter

    A document that sets the agenda for a project team before they start working on the project. It lists down the roles and responsibilities of each project member, the scope of the project and the project boundaries of each individual involved. It is created in the initial stages of the project so that the team can get to know each other and learn more about each other’s roles.

    You are free to use these templates as per your project requirements and needs. These templates are here to provide you with the basic structure of how your project charter can look like.

    Important Elements of Project Charter Template

    Project Charter Elements 

    1. Objectives of the Project: This explains why the project is being undertaken and what is the scope of the project, in measurable terms
    2. Requirements of the Project: reasons why the project is taken up
    3. Project Team: this element identifies the project team and the role and responsibilities of each team member 
    4. Stakeholders: This element identifies the important stakeholders and project sponsors 
    5. Resources: Briefly states the resources (material, equipment example, HSO – Hardware, Software and Others) that will be required for the successful completion of the project. 
    6. Roadblocks or Risks: Identify the potential roadblocks or risks that can impact the successful completion of the project. 
    7.  Milestones: Identify key milestones that reflect the successful completion of a project 
    8.  Communication: How information will be communicated within the team and stakeholders 
    9. Deliverable: the end product/ process on completion of the project along with the agreed quality 
    10. Budget: the estimated budget for the project.

    A project charter is prepared in the initiating stage of a project and is a key element along with identifying stakeholders. However, you can revisit the project charter during your project life cycle, to align with the key goal and objectives of the project.

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    Why are Project Charters Useful?

    1. Mentions the Reason Why a Project is Initiated: The project charter mentions why a project is being initiated, the business case and how it contributes to the overall strategic goals of an organization. 
    2. Identifies Stakeholders: It helps in identifying stakeholders and formulating stakeholder management strategies. 
    3. Authorizes Project Manager: the project charter officially grants the project manager the authority to use organizational resources to complete the project. 
    4. Reference Document: During the project life-cycle, the project manager can keep referring to the project charter, to ensure that the project is being directed towards the right path. 
    5. Management Support: This document demonstrates Management support for the project.

    Project Charter vs Project Plan

    A project charter gives a high-level view of the scope and objectives, team, and responsibilities of the project. It formally authorities the Project manager to use the organizational resources for the fulfillment of the project.

    The project plan is a detailed document on achieving the desired results from a project by breaking down work into smaller measurable units for better operations, and control. Also, additionally, a project plan puts together the timeline with the relevant milestones which the team will align to for project delivery.

    Difference Between Statement of Work and Project Charter?

    A statement of work is a document that states the business needs and overview of the deliverable of the project. It also states deliverables that are included and not included as project deliverables.   

    The project Charter is a document that officially authorizes the start of a project and appoints Project manager to initiate the project.

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    Importance of Project Charter

    1. Value: With the help of a project charter you can determine if the project is even worth pursuing and allocating resources. 
    2. Time: Once the charter is in place, the project team can say a lot of time negotiating for the project 
    3. Budget: It helps in judging whether a project is financially feasible for the organization or not 
    4. Clear Guidelines: The project charter directs the project team throughout the project lifecycle. It can be referred to in times of confusion and conflict.  
    5. Sales Document: In cases where you need to seek funds from sponsors for a project, the project charter acts as a sales document and can be presented to the project sponsors for approval. 

    Conclusion

    A project charter is crucial while initiating a project and this is the document that authorizes the existence of a project. Not just that, it is used as a guiding document throughout the life of a project and can be used as a reference.  It requires some time investment and dedication to create a project charter but it is worth the effort. The clear the project charter is, the better it is for the project manager and the project team to plan for the project. Get an advanced learning experience with the KnowledgeHut certification in Project Management course.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What are the six major elements of a project charter?

    •  Identifying the objectives of the project and the stakeholder needs 
    •  Resources required for successful completion of the project 
    •  An estimated timeline to complete the project 
    •  Identifying risks and constraints 
    •  The list of key stakeholders 
    •  Estimated budget for completing the project 

    2. What are the 4 major sections of the project charter?

    The 4 major sections of the project charter are as follows: 

    • Objectives of the project 
    • Milestones and Timeline 
    • Risk, constraints, and Dependencies 
    • Resources required 

    3. Who prepares the project charter?

    The project charter is usually prepared by the project manager along with the project management team. However, the project sponsor officially owns this document and needs to approve this document in order to initiate the project.

    Profile

    Shikha Bhakri

    Author

    An alumna of Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University ( SRCC) and is currently working with Mindvalley as an experience manager. She is a CAPM and is preparing for PMP certification. She is a Bharatanatyam dancer and a writer by passion.

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