The Very First Project Document

The project charter is a one-time announcement. It clearly establishes the project manager's right to make decisions and lead the project.




Purpose and Use of a Project Charter

The intent of a project charter is to give notice of the new project and new project manager and to demonstrate the upper management support for the project and the project manager.

10 Key Project Leader Skills

It is also used by the sponsor to provide a broad direction for the project to the project manager. The charter should precede the other project documents as it establishes the project manager's authority which, in turn, is necessary to get the stakeholder agreements written.

There are two ways most firms organizations use the term project charter:

A project definition document

A formal recognition of authority

The project charter establishes referent authority, i.e. the use of another person's authority, within the scope of the project.




Audience of a Project Charter

The charter should be made available to all project stakeholders everyone who may associated with the project, reaching as wide an audience as practical. The charter is usually written by the sponsor or the project leader and should be approved by the sponsor, the customer, and the resource manager.



Content of a Project Charter

The charter outlines the direction and constraints of the project. The Scope Section of the Charter describes the project objectives and deliverables, customers and their needs and requirements, project stakeholders. The Resources Section of the Charter names the project manager and other key project team members, the deadline, staff effort limit, budget, and other organizational constraints which the project must live within. In order for the team to make the best choices between the three main variables, the Resources Section describes also project priorities according to the ranks assigned by the sponsor to the scope, schedule, and cost.



Content of a Project Charter

Scope Section

Project Name

Business Case a brief summary

Project Objectives

Final Deliverable(s)

Project Customers

Customer Requirements quality characteristics

Customer Needs why project is commissioned to develop something new or to improve something existing

Project Stakeholders a list

Resources Section

Team Assignments name of the project manager and other key team members


Staff Effort Limit

Budget (or Spending Limit)

Organizational Constraints other than deadlines, staff effort, and budget

Project Priorities ranking of scope, schedule, and cost





  1. Getting Started in Project Planning, P.Martin and K.Tate

  2. Project Manager's MBA, D.J. Cohen and R.J. Graham

  3. ICB - IPMA Competence Baseline, International Project Management Association (IPMA)

  4. The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management,  Erich Verzuh