Project charter is a must for any project. It highlights the project purpose, main objectives, vision and other important items. Some project professionals thinks that having a project charter is sort of luxury, formalities and as only as documentation.
This blog will briefly define the project charter and will then highlight what are the reasons why the project charter is left out. Subsequently, the next blog will discuss what are the implications of not having a project charter.
Project Charter is a document issued by project initiator or sponsor that formally create the project and provide the project manager with the authority to allocate the resources to project. Below figures briefly illustrate the components of the project charter.
Figure 1: Project charter components
Figure 2: Project Charter template
Why project charters left out
A good project manager would really understand that project charter is un-comprisable part for any project. The idea of project charter being as luxury and formality is challengeable. However, its very important to identify why project charters are left out. Based on research on literature, many reasons could lead that. The following are some:
- Lack of project governance by project sponsor or the organization. If there is no emphasis on having a clear project scope, objectives, time etc. ( which the project charter includes) some project manager tend to skip this part.
- Lack of executives commitment will after the project charter b not highlighting it as important document.
- Ambiguity on the project objectives. Sometimes the project manager don’t know exactly what are the objective behind the project so s/he will not be able to define a project charter.
- Requirements rapid changes without reflecting it to the project charter will make the current one obsolete. Then we can not consider the project charter existence as its out of date and don’t really reflect the project. This is happing in large projects where a lot of changes happens.
- Sometimes the project charter exists but its not clear and ambiguous. And also sometimes it contain information that is rigid and unrealistic, which will then make this document not a good reference to refer to.
On the other hand, sometimes the project charters exists but lack important parts, which then will not be considered as project charter. Many project charter lack a clear identification of the risks involved ( no RAM: Risks Assessment Matrix). Also, it may not contain a clear accountabilities from each parties.
It’s very important to have a project charter for any project to ensure that project achieve its objectives using the planned resources. However, it’s more important to make sure that the existing project charters are complete and cover the important aspect about the project. Failing to satisfy different components of the project charter will result to ineffective charter that will not serve the project to achieve its goals.
Anonymous (2011). PROJECT CHARTER TEMPLATE. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.biggerplate.com/mindmaps/ztkkGJ3D/project-charter-template. [Last Accessed 9 Jul 2014].
Karim, S. (2012). A PROJECT WITH NO PROJECT CHARTER?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2012/05/a-project-with-no-project-char.html. [Last Accessed 9 Jul 2014].
Project Management Institute, (2013). A GUIDE TO THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT BODY OF KNOWLEDGE (PMBOK GUIDE). 5th ed. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Vishy, C. (2014). 5 COMMON PROJECT CHARTER MISTAKES. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/5-common-Project-Charter-mistakes-37987.S.5819679942299918339. [Last Accessed 9 Jul 2014].