- The Project Charter:
1. Skip the Project Charter entirely and jump to the Timeline / Schedule
If you jump to the timeline/ schedule before you do your first draft of the Project Charter you will build a Project Plan without having any idea what the project is about, who is involved, who’s in charge and what the outcomes are. That’s ridiculous, right?
2. Complicate the Project Charter
Our Project Charter template (check Tools in the www.russellmartin.com store or contact Shawna.Moser@moserit.com), is designed to be simple, visual and completed in 45 minutes or less. It’s always a draft, so expect things to change as you learn more about your project. If your Project Charter takes longer than a half day to complete, no one will do it. Creating a ‘lean’ Project Charter can drive important engagement and compliance.
3. Do the Project Charter Collaboratively
Skipping the Project Charter is common. Most people don’t know what it is and why you need it. To understand and share WHY you are doing this project must be discussed with all the Stakeholders.
Our Project Charter template used in our workshops strive to complete the basic Charter in 45 minutes or less. The only way this makes sense is if you accept that the Project Charter is a draft and will be until the project is done. It will change of course. You can’t possibly know what’s going to happen (note… see how agile like this is?) By documenting the Business Objective (Two choices: Increase Revenue OR Avoid Cost), the visual Scope Diagram with clear roles, the Project Objectives (what will the customer HAVE when done that they don’t have now?), Time/Cost/Quality Prioritization Risk and Constraints. The last two items to be defined are Project Governance (who is in charge and what are their boundaries?) and Project Change Management (Pre-emptive Change messaging and who can change the requirements). These two, when done well, help mitigate the risk that people will skip your meetings and show up way too late in a project to get their opinions in.
Project Timelines / Schedules:
I don’t believe in duration (sorry). Documenting the time for each task in a Project Schedule is insane – you don’t have time to be that detailed. There are many pitfalls.
- Giving your stakeholders a task duration without talking to them is project suicide. How dare you guess how long their work will take?
- If someone says “it will take 2 hours” does that mean 2 hours consecutively or 2 hours over the next six weeks? Multitasking has made duration almost impossible.