As I mentioned in the thread about "team charters" I started in "General Management and Leadership," I am posting some notes from a project management course I recently took. I'd appreciate hearing if you all agree/disagree with things. Might just serve as a nice reminder to folks.

You can view the other thread here:

What follows are roughly the lecture slides outline:

Project Charter - What is it, who issues it?
-Document that formally authorizes a project - links proposed work to organizational work
-Authorizes PM to apply organizational resources to project (PM should be assigned pre-chartering)
-Initiator or sponsor with the authority ot authorize funding issues the charter
-Issued external to the project organization (e.g.)
__-Gov't agency

Project Charter - What can trigger it?
-Market demand
-Business need
-Customer request
-Technological advance
-Legal requirement
-Social need

Elements of Charter
-Primarily concerned with documenting the business needs, project justification, customer requirements, and how product will do that
-Typical components
__-Customer, sponsor, stakeholder needs
__-Business needs addressed
__-Assigned PM
__-Stake holder analysis
__-Milestone schedule
__-Key team members
__-Summary budget
__-Internal, external, environmental concerns and constraints

Charter Input, Tools & Techniques, Output
Table with three columsn: (1)Inputs, (2)Tools & Techniques, (3)Outputs
Row 1: Contract -> Project selection methods -> Project Charter
Row 2: Project Statement of Work -> PM methodology
Row 3: Enterprise environment factors -> PM Information Systems
Row 4: Organizational assets -> Expert judgement

-Definition: "Individuals and organizations that are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected as a result of project execution and completion. They may exert influence over the projects objectives and outcomes."
-Successful PM must:
__-Identify stakeholders
__-Determine requirements and expectations
__-Manage their influence to ensure project success

Stakeholder Identification - What do they look like?
-Project Manager - responsible for managing project
-Customer/user - will use product, multiple layers here
-Performing Organization - enterprise whose employees to work on
-Project management team - team members directly involved in
_managing the project
-Sponsor - person providing $$$$ and/or people
-Influencers - indirect use or acquisition of product
-PMO - if it exists, has stake in project outcome

Stakeholder Analysis - Then Prioritize!!
Create table with 4 columns: (1)Name, (2)Interests/Wants/Expectations, (3)Influence, (4)Risk
Ex: Robert Langer -> Want: successful project, Expectation: makes money -> Positive -> High risk: unquantifiable expectation

Stakeholder Expectations - Things to Consider
-Differing or conflicting objectives/interests
-Overlapping interests (e.g. providing financing for design of facility
_company is building)
-Varying shapes, sizes, interests
__-Internal vs. external
__-Family members
__-Gov't agencies

BJ_Marshall's picture

I agree with your overview of what goes into the Project Charter. Well done! It seems to follow the PMBOK 3rd Ed. (Heads up: They're working on a 4th Ed., so things might change.)

One thing I think you may not have included: The Project Charter shouldn't really be changing. If it's changing a lot, then you need to evaluate why this project is being conducted. By the way, the person to change the Charter is the sponsor, not the PM.

It's difficult to gauge stakeholder risk early in the game. I've found a better gauge in a Risk Register. (I don't know whether you course has gotten to Risk Management yet.) It's really interesting when one stakeholder sees a potential event as nothing big, while another can see it as a harbinger of the apocalypse! Then it's nice to get these stakeholders together to try to figure out an appropriate risk response strategy.

If you're big into Project Management, I would suggest joining your local PMI Chapter. You don't have to be a PMP to join, although the price of membership is offset by a discount in sitting for the exam, should you choose to go that route. You even get access to the PMBOK Guide.