In its wider sense, the project charter or project management charter is a document that defines project goal(s), participants, organization, scope, schedule, and budget. If we want to focus more on tasks and benefits of the project manager or team members we use a project manager agreement or project manager target agreement.
In early definition phase, when it becomes clear that we want or have to undertake the project of which we only had fuzzy ideas in the very beginning, we form a project team and assign its members the responsibility for managing the project. Working together with the project stakeholders, the team refines the project vision and defines the project goal(s) and requirements or specifications of the project results. Consequently, a project charter issued in early definition phase may contain clearly defined project goal(s) as well as team member assignments including their role descriptions; however, scope, schedule, and budget might still be a little rough.
It is common practice to have different teams or team members working on the project over its different phases. Therefore, we usually prepare a charter in its wider sense on project level and more specific target agreements for the project manager and project team members.
Let us have a look at the typical content of the project charter and the project manager agreement.
|Project Goal(s)||Short and clear statement about the project goal(s)|
|Problem / Scope / Benefits||
What are the reasons to undertake this project?
What problem will be solved by the project?
What are possible solutions?
What is the expected scope?
What is not included in the scope?
What are the benefits for the organization, in terms of strategy implementation, innovation, revenue, profit, synergy, saving of cost, net present value (or IRR, etc., cf. sub-section Project Selection)?
|Deliverables||Short description of project results|
Requirements / specification of project results complete
RFP or RFQ issued
Proposal and / or Quotation complete
Proposal and / or Quotation submitted
Project plan complete, contract negotiations finalized
Deliverables on site
System tests successful
Preliminary acceptance issued
List of open points closed
Handover to customer complete
Final acceptance issued
Availability of human resources in relevant areas of expertise, on necessary skill levels
Availability of raw materials
Availability of manufacturing capacities
|Risks||What major risks do we anticipate?|
|Opportunities||What opportunities, not yet covered under benefits, do we anticipate?|
|Participants, Roles, and Responsibilities||
Project stakeholders and sponsor(s)
Project control board
Commercial project manager
Hardware systems engineer
Software systems engineer
Customer service, etc.
|Authorization of the Project Manager||Signatures of control board members and project manager|
In sub-section Free Project Management Tools, you find a template of a project management charter.
Project goal(s) of the customer
Organization internal project goals
Scope: deliverables and services, PBS, WBS
Schedule: milestones, detailed time schedule
Budget: accumulated project cost plan
|Responsibilities and Main Tasks of the Project Manager||
Leadership responsibility for the project team
Responsibilities for the project contract
Project planning, implementation, closure
|Authorities of the project manager||
Authority to issue instructions towards team members
|Responsibility of steering committee||
Authority over the project
First escalation level above project manager
Human resources, i.e. team members
|Incentives||For project manager and team members|
|Validity period of this Agreement||
In sub-section Free Project Management Tools, you find a template of a project manager agreement.
While project charters focus on the project, project manager agreements tend more towards target agreements for individuals.
In case you would like to use practical and useful packages of tools, templates and checklists, here you can get them. They save you a lot of time, are easy to use and easy to change:
All four PM Phases in one Set