Project Charter Elements | Project Sponsor

During the project selection process, one or more projects may be selected. The selected project must be formally authorized during initiation of the project. This is done by creating a Project Charter. It is a document that formally authorizes the project and allows the project manager to utilize the resources of the organization for the project work. The agile project charter includes element or provides a description of the following:

Purpose of the Project: It defines the business objective for which the project is being undertaken. This conveys to the project manager what is expected out of him/ her, so that he/she can ensure that all the decisions taken during the project are aligned towards the achievement of the business objective.

Description of Project: The project charter contains a high-level description of the project. For example, it may say that the organization will create a telecom network in the city.

High-level Requirements: The requirements of the stakeholders are documented at the high level in the project charter to clearly define what will be and what will not be done in the project. For example, in the first phase of the project, the organization will provide only call services. VolP and data services will be added in the second phase of the project.

Objectives and Success Criteria of the Project: Measurable objectives and success criteria are mentioned in the project charter to define when the project will be considered successful. For instance, the project charter may say that the network created in the project should support 1 million simultaneous users, instead of saying a robust network will be created. The first one is measurable whereas the second one is subjective.

High-level Risks Involved in the Project: The charter defines the business level uncertainties associated with the project.

List of key Stakeholders: It defines the people who can impact the project or who will be impacted by the project.

Milestone Schedule: It defines the timelines when important milestones will be attained in the project.

Summary Budget: It specifies the budget for the project, and how the project will be funded.

Requirements for Project Approval: It specifies who will approve the project and on what basis.

Exit Criteria: It states the basis on which the stakeholders can decide to close the project prematurely.

Information about Project Manager and Project Sponsor: It describes the roles and responsibilities of project manager and project sponsor.

Purpose of Project Charter

Authorizes a Project: The project charter document authorizes the project, once the project has been considered profitable or necessary by the top management. It assigns the project manager and gives him/her the authority to utilize resources of the organization for the project work.

Serves as Guideline Business Document: The document presents the business background and summary of the project. During the execution of the project, the project manager is required to ensure that all the decisions taken during the project align to the business objectives of the stakeholders.

Acts as Reference at all Stages throughout a Project Life Cycle: The document is referred at various stages, i.e. at review meetings or while making modifications in the scope of the project. It is basically a roadmap without any trivial details, so that the stakeholders can easily review the project in terms of cost, quality and schedule while delivering the required quality.

Project Sponsor

According to Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK@ Guide), project sponsor is "a person or group who provides resources and support for the project, program or portfolio for enabling success." Thus, the project sponsor is a person or an organization who is betting their money on the project. The project sponsor:

Negotiates funding for the project to ensure its smooth running.

Acts as a representative, communicating the project progress and issues to the senior management.

Provides direction and conveys key business strategies to the project manager and helps him/her in achieving it.

Defines and modifies the project benefits and administers their attainment.

Defines critical success factors of projects and approves deliverables.

Identifies the members of Steering Committee and oversees the work of Project Management Office (PMO).

Participates actively in the project for development of the project charter and the project scope, so as to ensure the alignment of project with the business objectives.

Negotiates with stakeholders to arrive at mutual consensus.

Reviews modifications made in the project budget, schedules, priorities, tasks, etc. Communicates with the stakeholders and maintains their commitment to the project with the help of effective communication strategies and project management planning methods.

Assesses the project's success on its completion.

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