Start and guideline: The project charter

The project charter is the “green light” for the project. The moment a customer or client places the project order, the preparation phase ends and the implementation phase begins.

Gerald Aquila

Gerald Aquila

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Other common terms are project order, project contract or project agreement.

Before the project charter

If the project is still in the idea phase, it is important that a project can be created as easily as possible in a project management solution - this does not require much information. As soon as a project has been set out concretely and a project charter is created, it pays off to formulate it as detailed as needed and to invest plenty of time, because the project charter is important to organize working tasks within the project.

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A project charter ideally contains

1. Project name

The project name is the working title for the project, which serves as a reference for the parties involved.

2. Summary

What is the project about? (Hint: If project goals and measures are broken down into separate items, the summary should be limited to 2-3 sentences.)

3. Project type

What type of project is it (e.g. customer project, infrastructure project or innovation project)?

4. Classification and context

This point refers to #3 and can clarify the business case: for example, whether the project is primarily concerned with complex tasks, or if it has strategic relevance or is deliberately risky.

5. Dates

This section considers start date, (planned) end date and important milestones.

6. Start and end event

Are the kick-off and goal achievement of the project linked to special events? If so, which are they and how will their occurrence be verified?

7. Project goals/non-goals

Main goal, subgoals, secondary goals and important milestones are recorded here. Similarly, project non-goals that should not or may not be achieved. (Hint: How project goals are formulated correctly, read here.)

8. Organization

Project team, internal management and customers are named, including function and if necessary, contact details.

9. Project planning overview

The main tasks at the first planning level and their respective duration can be outlined and entered in an organizational chart.

10. Resources & budget

The last point provides a rough overview of the required project resources (internal and external) and the budget.

After the project charter

Once the project charter has been signed, the concrete planning starts. At the same time, the charter serves as a guideline for the entire project duration. It summarizes context, project goals, resources and dates in a clear manner.

Relevant Project Management Terms

Budget  

In project management, all financial resources that are maximally available and released at the same time are called "budget" or "project budget". The budget is usually released by the steering committee and/or by the client.

Program Charter / Project Order  

The official placing of an order for a project is called a project order or project charter. A signed project charter authorizes the project and serves as a guideline regarding goals, resources and deadlines during its implementation

Resource Utilization  

The resource utilization shows the resource usage in a specific period. For more information, see utilization rate.

Glossary