Every project consists of five basic chapters – the introduction, review of the used literature, thesis and research methods, results of the research, and discussion. This is a basic structure every project should have, and sometimes subchapters can be added. But, when we talk about project charter, it’s different than the research project, and it’s very common within the organizations who are looking for donations and outsource financing, or should have a written project for some reason.
This is different than a thesis for scientific purposes, even though inexperienced people consider them as the same thing, and sometimes mix the approaches of the work, and that results in a messy document, which surely is not a winning one. Today, these charters are so common, that there are services like powerslides project charter that provide empty documents and templates you only need to fill up with the required information. Many organizations and individuals don’t want to use templates, but the truth is these documents are so detailed, we won’t skip anything important.
If we try to define what is a project charter, we can say it’s a formal document that is used as an instruction guide for the team, on how to complete the contract. With this document, every person involved has defined roles and responsibilities, and goals that have to be completed. Most of the organizations have their own templates, but if yours don’t have one, you can create it based on these tips and instructions:
1. Put the project name on the top of the document
Everyone who reads it should know what’s it about. Don’t go for descriptions, fancy fonts, or any other unnecessary formatting. Just put the name of the organization, the logo, and the project name. Additionally, you can mention the name of the person who will coordinate the process and their basic role during the realization.
2. Define the objective and the purpose
In the first chapter, which is an introduction to the document, explain why you proposed this project, and define the impact it will have when completed successfully. Write a baseline, that is not longer than a few sentences, that will shortly explain the goals and specifications. Then, explain how your organization will complete it, and how it fits the resources you offer. In the end, define the weak points and what additional resources you need to enhance your performance.
3. The minimum budget you propose
Every dollar should be calculated in this part, including the salaries of the people involved in it. You should transparently explain why do you need the amount you propose. Try to estimate how much the whole project will cost, and write that down. Don’t forget to mention the possible additional and unplanned expenses. In most cases, the donators will give you more money than you propose.
Also, if you are not looking for money, but still have to inform the involved people transparently for the expenses, mention every possible part that will spend the money. Keep in mind that today everyone can check the prices on any service, so don’t try to overdo it in this chapter.
4. What you expect to deliver and how to do that
Project deliverables are the measurable parts of the realization. Include every method that will be used to measure the success of the project. For example, if you plan to help people with food donations, explain how you will prove you really did that. Also, when you have to inform the audience about your activity, define the channels the information will be delivered to them, like the minimum number of websites, newspapers, and TV ads that you will release as you go to accomplishing the goal of the project.
5. Define the possible risks
Is there any risk that should be considered? How you plan to overcome the potential risks and bad outcomes? Do you have a crisis management plan to hold on to? Most of the projects have known and expected risks, but no matter that, write them down, so everyone can know you kept them in mind while doing the baseline. Also, you can try to identify some of the possible risks that are specific to the topic you are working on. Offer some possible solutions and managing methods if something like that happens.
6. Used literature, sources, and professional consultation
What’s your project based on? Explain how did you define the topic, and what was the reason you decided it’s worth trying to improve that particular part of your organization, or even the society or your community’s response to it. Are there any legal ways that current laws allow to be used when resolving the problem? Did you talk to some professional to help you define the problem and look for a solution? Sometimes, many projects fail because the creator didn’t research the topic and tried to fix something that is already regulated by the laws.
7. What do you expect after it’s completed?
Everyone should know this. This is tightly related to the purpose, but not every project can be completed as planned. At the final part of the charter try to explain your minimum expectations and changes you want to see. For example, if you are buying better IT equipment for your company, then you can define that you expect some improvement in the working process and accomplishing the company’s goals. Or, if you want to make some change in society, you can’t hope for the best at once, but you can always define what’s the least you want to see after you work on the problem.
Bonus tip: Don’t write it down by yourself. Have your team with you, because all of you will be able to define the issues, and not failing to mention any important aspect of the work you expect to do.
As you can see, having the winning team is even more important than offering your project to the authorities or donators. Be sure you have the best people by your side, who will help you write the best possible charter on the topic.