PMO Forms Guide – Project Charter


Names Used
Project Charter, Charter, Statement of Work, SOW, Business Case

Authorizes resources for the Project as defined in the Charter and in the specified time frame. The Charter also provides documentation on the analysis done to ensure the soundness of the project. The fields you need highly depends on your processes and organization. Some of these fields can also be pulled from your initial Project Proposal or Business Case.

Common Fields (use only what is needed)

Project Name:
Try to keep under 50 chars as it will be used on a variety of reports, emails, and summaries.

Project Summary:
Short summary of the project. Used for reporting.

This is the project manager, project lead, or person kick starting the project.

Date Updated:
Date Charter last updated. 

Problem Statement:
Should identify what problem this project is focused on solving. The problem statement can  contain:
- Who is being impacted
- What is the issue impacting the customer (or opportunity for the customer)
- Where is issue (or opportunity) happening
- When does this problem or opportunity happen
- What is the impact of the problem (calls dropped, losing customer, etc)

Business Case:
List out why we should do this. How does this align to business initiatives and strategic alignment. What benefits will be derived from the project (increased revenue, lower operational costs, cost avoidance, strategic value, reduced risk, etc)

Project Goals and Objectives:
What are the measures of success for the project. What are the criteria that needs to be met for the project to be considered a success. Sometimes called Success Criteria.

Major Milestones (Review Gates):
This becomes your baseline and the constraints for when you build out your schedule. As you are early in the project this needs to be broad as the dates are based only on expert/past experience. You should have 3-5 major milestones that are reviewed and revised at every milestone. 

Major Stakeholders:
List of the sponsors, business owners, project manager, and steering committee that have oversight and overall authority over the project.

Describe the customer:
Who are the end users, their size, and do you expect the end users to grow.

Summarize any major risks to project success:
Risks can be around the execution of the project or the deliverables being produced.

Describe any project assumptions:
Assumptions is self explanatory. This is always a great conversation piece as you will find assumptions to not always be correct.

Describe any constraints or schedule limitations:
These are rules, decisions, or facts that are non negotiable. A good example is that project must complete by a certain date.

Describe any dependencies:
This would be external factors that are required for this project to be successful. An example is a dependency on another project.

Describe any out of scope work:
List out what is not going to be accomplished or delivered.

Summarize the estimated capital costs, resource costs, and annual support costs:
For a large project, you would have a separate document supporting these numbers and approved by Finance.