Develop Project Charter- Inputs I

July 1, 2010

The development of project charter works with project statement of work, the
business case that necessitates the project, contracts if any and
organizational issues in the form of environmental factors and the process
assets. Of these this part 1 of the two part article on development of project
charter includes the statement of work and the business case issues. Contracts
and environmental factors and organizational process assets will be discussed
in the part 2 of this set.
Project Charter Inputs
The statement of work (SOW)is a detailed description of the products and services expected out of the
project. For projects requested by external agencies such as a customer, the
SOW is often very detailed and comes to the organization through the bidding
process ad as art of the bid documents such as RFP, PFI, request for bid etc.
Most detailed SOWs typically come with contracts undertaken. In case of
internal projects the project initiator or the sponsor provides a statement of
work. Such a statement can be based on a specific business needs, need for a
particular product or a set of services required.
The statement of work often refers to business needs. These may arise out of a
competitive strategy, market development and as a competitive response to these
conditions. Technological advances may necessitate up-gradation of products and
services. Once again that may be as a strategic decision of staying ahead in
the market or a competitive response when other vendors may have initiated
projects on these upgrades. This way the references to the strategy plans are a
source of project needs. The strategic plan of the organization is anyway the
overall business roadmap. The strategic goals defined here are the basic
cornerstone against which you decide what needs to be taken up as a project.
The product scope description also is referenced extensively in the SOW. This
document defines the product or the services being created in the project. It
completely characterizes the products and services required out of the project.
The relationship of business needs to the products and services are detailed in
the same.
The business caseis a document that brings out the business need clearly. The need for the
project will be brought out definitely. The associated cost implications and
how that investment will be returned to the stakeholders are the important
aspects of such a business case. The business need and the cost benefit
analysis are the important aspects of the business case document. This exercise
of developing a business case may not be part of the performing organization s activities. An external agency offering a contract on a project would
actually have done that business case analysis for themselves prior to coming
up with the need for contracting out work. The make or buy decision on parts of
their own project may have prompted this need to farm out the work in such
cases. You could expect the SOW to be fairly detailed in such situations.
Any one of the following situations may trigger the need for a project and
hence development of a business case to justify the start of one. Market demand
or organizational needs are top of the chart of situations that can trigger the
development of business cases. As discussed with the need for SOW developments,
these triggers can come from the need to remain competitive, or to get ahead of
competition and be the first mover and so on. There could be strong demand for
a specific product or services leading to a project. There may even be a
specific customer requests. Legal needs, environmental and other regulations or
even being socially responsive may lead to such business cases too.

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