Tips for Successful Charters

When developing project charters for leadership team review and approval, there are a number of behind-the-scenes preparation activities that can make all the difference in a successful outcome (i.e., an approved charter that has paved the way for a successful project).

Here are a few tips that can make all the difference –

  • Think through the scope – spend some time working out the scope in the project description – think about what will and will not be included in the project deliverables.  If there is a risk of one or more stake holders driving what is known as scope creep as the project progresses, then carefully state the out-of-scope areas in the charter document.
  • Think about the most influential person in the organization who would benefit from the project.  Assuming that this individual has the credibility and influence to support the project team, they would in all likelihood make a great champion for the project.
  • Who doesn’t want the project?  This is important as well – understanding these individuals’ concerns and addressing them is critical to a smooth project review meeting.  There are times when you will need to negotiate between the project champion and concerned parties (a subset of the overall group of stakeholders) to address concerns before the charter review meeting.
  • Who are the key players who will make or break the project?  Make sure you have there input before the meeting.
  • Anticipate questions – this is a great way to prepare for the charter review meeting.  List out all of the questions that could possibly be asked, and write down the answers.   Most of these you can commit to memory, and the more complex answers can be referred to as needed during the review meeting.

Developing an effective charter goes way beyond completing the charter template – following the above steps will help pave the way for a successful project!