Why Should a Project Not Start Without a Project Charter?
One of the most critical and essential documents for every project is the Project Charter. It is the first document for a project and lays down the foundation for the project. A project charter is a document which explains about the project at a very high level and highlights the stakeholders and the approach towards the project. It introduces the Project Manager to the project. The project sponsor owns a project charter. Project Sponsor authorizes the Project Charter, but the Project Manager can create it. Project Stakeholders should approve every Project Charter. Once the Project Charter is approved, it cannot be changed throughout the project life cycle.
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What Does a Project Charter Have?
There is no standard rule what information a project charter should contain. In fact, the format of a project charter also can vary from organizations to organizations. We have listed information which a project charter can have.
- Project Name – Name of the Project which differentiates it from other projects.
- Project Description – A brief description of the project
- Project Scope – High-level scope of the project
- Project Stakeholders – Who are the stakeholders of this project?
- Business Case – Why is this project important?
- The value proposition of the project Project Objectives – What is the objective of the project?
- Project Timeline – Start Date and End Date
- Project Deliverable – Outcome/Deliverable from the project
- Project Constraints – Various constraints faced by the project
- Assumptions – What are the assumptions made for the project during the initiation phase
Project Scope – Why Is It Really Important for a Project?
Majority of the project fails because the scope of a specific project is not defined clearly. For any project to be successful, the project scope has to be clear to all stakeholders without any assumption.
What Is Project Scope?
Project Scope, as the name suggests, is the boundary of the project. Every project team is required only to deliver as defined and agreed in the Project Scope. The information on project scope is documented in a project scope document. It is the foundation on which the schedule, budget is built. As per the PMBOK – Project Scope is all the work required and only the work required to complete the project.
It is crucial for every project manager to document the scope of the project and get approval from all stakeholders. Project scope can change over a time based on the client's requirement change, business scenario change, or any other applicable reason. However, any change in project scope should be supported by a Change request. The requester of the change should raise a change request, and it has to receive approval from the change control board. Any change to the scope of the project will have an impact on Time, Cost, Quality, Risk, Staffing (Human Resource), Communication.
Impact of Project Scope
Impact of change in project scope to Time, Cost, Quality, Risk, Staffing (Human Resource), Communication is difficult to ascertain and takes a lot of time for any project manager to identify the impact. If the scope change impact is not determined correctly, this will impact the project success adversely.
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Define Project Scope
Defining Project Scope is the first step wherein the scope of the project is defined. Scope can be defined in three main ways – Deliverable, Functionality & Data, and Technical Structure.
- Deliverable – It includes internal (internal project deliverable) as well as an external deliverable. (Deliverable for the client)
- Functionality – Functional specification of the project. Mention the list of functionality.
- Technical Structure – The structure diagram can identify the whole system at a high level.
It can be created in a pictorial format or diagram.
Defining scope is a significant problem in many projects. An error in project scope can lead to the project disaster. Unless and until the scope is identified correctly, the project cannot be under control and scope will keep increasing.
Read more: Project Management Methodologies
A project charter provides a solid foundation for a project (small or large). All the stakeholders of the project are informed about their roles and the level of efforts required from their end. Project Charter is used during the initial phase and planning phase; hence, a good project charter can help in the success of the project. A project manager needs to have a project charter before he/she take over a new project. If a project charter is unavailable, it is better to create a project charter and get it approved from the stakeholders before one starts the project.
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