Project Charter

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What is a Project Charter in Project Management?

A Project Charter is a short document that formally authorizes the project and the project manager to officially execute the project and to use organizational resources to make project successful as well as provides a common understanding of what this project will bring about.

A project charter is developed in the early phases of the project life cycle, as a part of the initiating phase.

This document mainly states:

  • the project objectives and constraints
  • project scope
  • project timeline and milestones
  • its deliverables
  • business case
  • high level budget
  • potential risks
  • Project Manager Responsibilities
  • Project team organization (including Main stakeholders)
  • Acceptance Criteria
  • Assumptions

A charter should be simple and short, but it must contain certain key elements.

Benefits of the Project Charter:

♣Project Charter is a document that accepts and declares the existence of the project formally. In other words, the project cannot start without a Project Charter.

♠In most organizations, the project team does not directly report to the project manager, hence she/he may not have authority to use human resources. This document authorizes the Project Manager to execute the project. It gives her/him authority to apply organization resources to the project.

♠Getting project stakeholders on the same page by providing them the necessary information about the project is very crucial from the very beginning. They key of successful project is effective communication, without the support of stakeholders, project cannot be successful.

♠Project Charter can be prepared by the Project Manager or the Project Sponsor. However, it must be approved by the Project Sponsor. In some organizations, in addition to the sponsor, senior management also approves this document. Project charter does not include detailed time & cost or risk analysis. The detailed planning phase will be initiated after the project is authorized by the approval of this document.

Why do we need it?

♠Starting your project without a project charter may lead to a lack of understanding of the value and importance of your project because the objectives, business case and strategic benefits of the project have not been announced to the project stakeholders. With this document, your project team will have clear expectations about project outcomes, so it will be easier to meet those expectations.

♠If you already get the approval of the project sponsor and the senior management at the beginning of the project, you will not in need of knocking on their door to get their approval again and again.

♠This document eliminates the lack of authority as it officially authorizes the Project Manager.

Click the link below to download one-page project charter template:


(This template is free for you to copy and use on your project and within your organization.)

sample project charter document for project managers

Project charter document download for free use, download the template


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