Develop Project Charter Outputs

July 4, 2010

The project charter is a authorization document for the project. Besides the
actual sign off by the sponsor or initiator, it contains a thumbnail view of
the complete projects. Whatever summary details complete the picture is
included. What exactly needs to be included is guided by the organizational
culture; though there are certain common denominator of summaries that should
be included.
Details of Charter
The name and authority of the project sponsor are specified in the charter; as is done for other personsauthorizing the project. That is quite obviously a necessary detail in the
project charter. The other details to be included define the various aspects of
the projects. A whole set of documents define the project, its management and
execution and even the closure. Therefore, a summary of crucial aspects that
define the project in all dimensions needs to be included. That would enable a
quick view of not only who authorized the project but also the thumbnail
picture of the complete project at one place.
The next crucial thing to include is what defines project success, who signals the project is a success and who should sign offthe project need to be defined in the document. These two aspects together
define all the aspects of the project startup and who signs the closure, etc.
As far as authorizations go what more needs to be defined is the person
responsible of carrying out the project. Theproject manager is defined along with the dimensions of his authority.
Other details to be included are the things that define the project outcomes,
the product, service or result expected of the project. Thus the minimal items
to be included should be as follows. Projectpurpose or justification is the distilled version of the project need. Project objectivesto be achieved are also detailed in the document. An essential part of that
definition is the criteria of deciding when the objectives can be treated as asuccess. These definitions should obviously be brief, thus should be very clearly
worded and concise in meaning. Similarly success criteria also should be
defined very precisely.
A high level project descriptionis part of the overall project picture. This is a summary, yet precise
description of the project. This is more of a qualitative description of what
is expected out of the project, how activities will be carried out, etc.
Specific aspects of the product, service or the result outcome from a project
is covered under thehigh level requirementsto be covered in the charter document. These requirements need to define the
main outcomes expected from the project. If the project is about a product,
then the main specifications of the same would need to be included. Same goes
for the service outcome of a project. If some results are to be derived from he
project then it should details the highlights of the result expected from the
The other two major dimensions that complete the picture are related to the time schedule and the cost estimates. The time schedule snapshot, at a minimum, should cover the milestone
schedule. Then this charter document becomes a ready reckoner of the major
events in the overall time chart. One quick look will tell you the major events
expected and interrelationships and any dependencies implied in the overall
time schedule. Summary budget also should include the highlights. The purpose
is to have a similar snapshot view of the overall budgetary scene. Major fund
infusion points, an estimate of costs incurred up to an project event/milestone
are essential details that must be included.
What else needs to be included would be decided by the organizational
environment, culture and its process assets of course. Therefore, there could
be variations to this theme. However, these items do look necessary as the
common denominator for most organizations.

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