E6S-023 Don't Skimp the Charter

***Don’t Skimp on the Charter***                                                  

The charter is the official authorization from up-high, granting the time and resources to the project/change initiative.           

Objections: Official charter is bureaucratic and unnecessary. Champion's "word" of support is good enough.

Counter: Like most bureaucracy, the project charter is a tool for communication, to ensure stake-holders are clear on expectations and starting from the same place with the same goals in mind.            Why get signatures?  People forget.  People pay closer attention when they are asked to sign, and this will open up discussions of things are not aligned.                                                                                                                                                                                   

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I          Importance and purpose of the project charter.  Discuss the anecdotes for project failure due to misunderstanding, regarding project scope and limits of authority.            

a.       Charter grants the authority for the project to take place, outlines the main deliverables and deadlines.           

II         Contents of the project charter. List the important aspect of the project charter.  Discuss typical templates.                  

a.       Project Definition

i.      Problem Statement

ii.      Objective Statement

iii.      Business Case

b.      Project Scope – In-scope/Out-of-scope

c.       General Timeline – Dead lines

d.      Main Roles & Responsibilities – What areas do team members, subject matter experts need to cover?  (What I Learned and believe from Army OCS): You cannot delegate responsibility, only authority.  Even if you delegate, you are responsible for the quality of the output.)

i.      Who has ultimate responsibility for the success of the project? (Champion)

ii.      Who has authority to utilize resources, budget, etc to achieve project success (GB, BB, Project Manager)

e.       Resource Requirements

i.      Team members

ii.      Support Services

iii.      Equipment & Infrastructure needs

f.       Budget

i.      Labor

ii.      Travel

iii.      Capital

iv.      Contracted Services

g.      Project Constraints – What is “off-limits?”

h.      Authorization to Complete (signed by executive) & Includes limits of authority

i.        Commitment to Support/Participate (signed by all team members & champion, certain stakeholders.) May be an addendum.           

III      Who and when is the charter initiated? Discuss roles and responsibilities relative to LSS community, and what to do of a charter is inadequate or doesn't exist.         

a.       In an ideal, mature organization the project charter is generated by the champion and executive leads, and handed to the project manager as the official Statement of Work

b.      In reality: The Project Manager (BB, GB)  will likely need to negotiate and help facilitate with the Champion/Sponsor and MBB before kicking off the project with a team

IV      Don’t skimp on the project charter.  It doesn’t take any extra work.  You have all the information.  It fosters communication (always good), and helps solidify commitments. Why not take this extra small step?