Create a Realistic, Stakeholder Input-Based Document

Once the project selection committee selects and approves a business case, the next most important step is development a project charter for formalizing the project life cycle. The project sponsor may choose to complete this process in-house or outsource it to a project management professional. Essentially, the project charter is a high-level document that:

  • Identifies the purpose of the project
  • States its business value to the organization
  • Provides the critical success factors, along with the measures of success
  • Defines the project approach and lists the main stakeholders
  • Details the project team structure, and the project manager’s authority to allocate resources
  • Highlights the assumptions, constraints, risks, and dependencies involved in the project.

As a best practice for ensuring project success, the contents of the project charter should reflect the collective feedback and inputs of the key stakeholders. An input-based project charter with realistic goals will:

  • Reinforce the unified vision and common goals of the project.
  • Encourage a seamless flow of activities and prevent disagreements or chaos.
  • Ensure that the budget, schedule, risks, and approval limits or processes support the defined project outcomes.

The project charter becomes the guiding force for the entire lifespan of the project. Which means, the quality of its content influences the project manager’s ability to lead and execute the project successfully. However, the project sponsor may identify (internally or externally) and appoint a project manager before or after signing off on the project charter.

Here are some best practices project managers can adopt:

  • Internally appointed: If you are from within the organization, chances are that you may get to work jointly with the project sponsor to finalize the content of the charter. This includes interacting with key stakeholders to secure committed resources or assistance on various activities within the project.
  • Externally appointed: If you come in for this role through a procurement process (professional services), a signed-off project charter may already be in place. Before accepting the position of project manager:
    • Request to see the project charter and review its contents in detail. Look out for potential issues, such as insufficient budgets, unrealistic timelines, excessive dependencies on multiple teams, or any other risks that could set you up for failure from the outset.
    • Meet with the project sponsor if you wish to modify or negotiate certain aspects of the charter. In the absence of any scope for alterations, make an informed decision about signing your contract. As they say, “You are as good as the last project you delivered”.

Watch out for our final blog in the project management best practices series to know more about creating a comprehensive stakeholder management strategy.

Learn more about project charter development and other project management best practices from the experts at BEVA Global. Call us at 1-877-669-7347 ext. 252, or contact us online.