Project Charter Template

An Enhanced Framework for the Management of Information Technology Projects

Project Charter Template


Enterprise Stewardship and Internal Services Strategies
Chief Information Officer Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat

Table of Contents

Introduction

This document is your template to producing a Project Charter, a key requirement for the implementation of any project.

Using this Template

To create a Project Charter from this template, simply:

  1. Delete this page.
  2. Replace the title on the cover page with, "Project Charter:", the name of your project and the organization information.
  3. Replace the [bracketed text] in the document header with your project name.
  4. Save your document with a filename of your choice.
  5. Update the filename in the document footer by right-clicking and selecting Update Field.
  6. Complete the entire template. Each section contains abbreviated instructions, shown in italics, which can be removed once your document is finalized. Tables are also provided as a suggested layout for some of the information required.
  7. Update the table of contents by right-clicking and selecting Update Field, then Update entire table.

You can also use the companion document, "Project Charter Guide", if you would like more information about a particular section of the Charter, or about the Project Charter in general.

Document Purpose

The Project Charter is "a document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project, and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities."Footnote 1

The purpose of the Charter is to obtain formal approval on the general parameters and structure of the proposed project, including:

  • the project objectives and outcomes, benefits, scope and risks;
  • the project deliverables, schedule, milestones, and estimated costs; and
  • the project organization, governance structure and stakeholders.

Section 1. Charter Introduction

1.1 Document Change Control

This section serves to control the development and distribution of revisions to the Project Charter. It should be used together with a change management process and a document management system.  It is recommended that changes to the Charter are documented only by adding annexes to the original Project Charter.  This will keep an accurate history of the original document that was first approved.

Revision Number

Date of Issue

Author(s)

Brief Description of Change

1.0 [yyyy-mm-dd]

[Author name]

Creation of the document.

       
       
       

1.2 Executive Summary

  • Provide a brief summary of the project in business terms demonstrating alignment with the ultimate/strategic outcome targeted by the participating organization(s).
  • Summarize the most important aspects of the project by answering the questions:
    • How and why the project was initiated?
    • Who will use the final deliverable of the project?
    • Who will be impacted by the project?
  • The following elements are usually covered in the Executive Summary:
    • project goals and objectives;
    • major milestones;
    • key deliverables;
    • key risks; and,
    • estimated total costs

1.3 Authorization

This section contains the signature of key stakeholders, which shows they agree with their role and the description of the project as it appears in the Project Charter.

This Project Charter formally authorizes the existence of the project, Project Name, and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to the project activities described herein. If there is a change in the project scope, the Charter will be updated and submitted for re-approval.

______________________________________________________
Full name

______________________________________________________
Date

Executive Sponsor

Position, Client Organization

______________________________________________________
Full name

______________________________________________________
Date

Project Sponsor

Position, Client Organization

______________________________________________________
Full name

______________________________________________________
Date

Project Manager

Position, Your Organization

______________________________________________________
Full name

______________________________________________________
Date

Title

Position, other supporting organization

______________________________________________________
Full name

______________________________________________________
Date

Title

Position, other supporting organization

Section 2. Project Overview

2.1 Project Summary

  • This section briefly summarizes the entire Project Charter, highlighting the significant points of interest to the reader. It includes all of the information required for approval by the key stakeholders.
  • The summary should also include some background information on the project that includes the reason/s for creating the project (e.g. a business need, a legal requirement, etc.), and mention the key stakeholders who will benefit from the project results.

2.2 Project Goals, Business Outcomes and Objectives

This section describes the project goals and links each of them to related measurable project objectives. In addition, business outcomes to be derived from the project goals and objectives should be presented as outlined in the business case. Measurement criteria, which will be used to confirm that an objective and the outcome have been reached, must also be provided.

Keep in mind that goals are high-level statements, usually broad general intentions that are typically intangible or abstract.  Project objectives are concrete and measurement criteria usually confirm if an objective has been met.  Business Outcomes are results expected at the end of the project. Outcomes can be expressed in just a few words that describe a general aim.

Add rows as required.

No. Goals Objectives Business Outcomes
1      
2      
3      

2.3 Project Scope

2.3.1 Scope Definition

This is a high-level description of the features and functions that characterize the product, service, or result to be delivered by the project.

2.3.2 Boundaries

This is where you expand on the scope definition and outline the major activities required to successfully complete the project (e.g. Develop module ABC, Develop Requirements Document, Prepare presentation xyz, etc.). Make sure to include activities under "Out of Scope" to reduce ambiguity.

Add rows as required.

While the table provides a summary view of the project boundaries, further explanations should be provided in a narrative form.

Activities In Scope

Activities Out of Scope

1.

1.

2.

2.

3.

3.

Insert additional explanations for project boundaries here.

2.4 Milestones

Identify the significant points or events in the project (phases, stages, decision gates, approval of a deliverable, etc.).  This can also represent a high-level project schedule.

Project Milestone

Description

Expected Date

1.

 

 

2.

 

 

3.

 

 

2.5 Deliverables

  • Identify and define the key deliverables the project must deliver in order to achieve the stated objectives.
  • Also include internal project deliverables required in the Project Management Process for review and approval (e.g. project transition plan, communication plan, lessons learned etc.).
  • Determine the criteria that will be used to assess the quality and completion of each deliverable.
  • Indicate the stakeholder(s) responsible for approving each deliverable.
  • Add rows as required.

Project Deliverable 1: [Deliverable Name]

Description:

 

Acceptance Criteria:

 

Due Date:

 

Project Deliverable 2: [Deliverable Name]

Description:

 

Acceptance Criteria:

 

Due Date:

 

The deliverables section can be used to build the top levels of a project's Work Breakdown Structure, which divides the big deliverables for a project into smaller, more manageable parts.

2.6 Project Cost Estimate and Source of Funding

2.6.1 Project Cost Estimate

This is where you record a summary of cost estimates for all of the resources (human, material and financial) required to produce the deliverables and meet the objectives established for the project. For input and to make sure the full project scope is covered, refer to the items listed in the initial Work Breakdown Structure and the project effort estimates. Don't forget to include one-time as well as on-going costs. For example, the estimated cost to sustain the product(s)/service(s) of the project should be provided. Modify the table as required.

The business case for the project should contain cost estimates that can be used as the basis for this summary.

Figure 1: Project Cost Estimate
Project Cost Estimate sample template. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version

The diagram is of a sample template for estimating project expenses by phase and fiscal year. The template includes a column for project phase or deliverable and columns for the project's fiscal years.

Under each project phase or deliverable are itemized estimated expenses including salary, O&M, Professional Services, Capital and Other (e.g.) revenue for which projected costs can be inputted into each fiscal year.

2.6.2 Source of Funding

State the various sources of funding that will be used to support the project. It should be clear to the project sponsor and the project manager where the funds come from and the level of resources committed to this project.

2.7 Dependencies

This is where you list dependencies for the project such as:

  • A predecessor/successor relationship exists with another project (MOU, partnerships, etc.);
  • A related project expects a deliverable from your project;
  • Your project expects a deliverable from a related project; or
  • Your project delivers a product, service or result that will or needs to be released with another new product, service or result.
Dependency Description Critical Date Contact
   

 

2.8 Project Risks, Assumptions, and Constraints

2.8.1 Risks

This initial risk assessment does not replace the full risk assessment conducted during the planning phase and documented within the project plan – both activities that come after the Project Charter is established. 

This is where risks are identified at the start of a project.  Decide how important they are and indicate the plan to mitigate the risks.

  • Identify and describe the key strategic risks involved in the project in the table below.
  • For each risk, also list both the level of impact and the degree of probability (high, medium, low).  This tells the reader how important each risk is.
  • Identify the possible mitigation actions needed during the project to lessen the impact or lower the probability of the risk involved, and assign the person or team responsible for resolution.

No.

Risk Description

Probability
(H/M/L)
Impact
(H/M/L)

Planned Mitigation

1

 

   

 

2

 

 

 

 

3

 

   

 

2.8.2 Assumptions

State all factors that are, for planning purposes, considered to be true, real or certain but without including proof. These assumptions will be validated during the planning process. If any are inaccurate, inconsistent, or incomplete, they will result in project risks. Add rows as required.

The following table lists the items that cannot be proven or demonstrated when this Project Charter was prepared, but they are taken into account to stabilize the project approach or planning.

No.

It is assumed that:

1

 

2

 

3

 

2.8.3 Constraints

Identify the specific constraints or restrictions that limit or place conditions on the project, especially those associated with the project scope (e.g. a hard deadline, a predetermined budget, a set milestone, contract provisions, privacy or security considerations, etc.). It will help to categorize the constraints if there are several. Add rows as required.

The following table lists the conditional factors within which the project must operate or fit.

No.

Category

Constraints

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

 

Section 3. Project Organization

3.1 Project Governance

  • This is where you show how your project is governed and the corporate governance bodies that may be involved in the approval process. In other words, it shows how decisions are made, and who makes which decisions.
  • A diagram should be used.
  • If committees are shown in the diagram, include a description of these committees in the Roles and Responsibilities section.

3.2 Project Team Structure

  • Use an organizational chart to show the structure of the project team as well as the  relationships between team members
  • You should also show how the team interacts with, or relates to the governance structure for the project.
  • For small projects, the names of the team members can be included; for larger projects, the organizational chart should name the groups or entities that form the project teams.

3.3 Roles and Responsibilities

  • Define the roles and responsibilities assigned to each member of the project team as well as any stakeholders and working groups that have a significant influence on the project.
  • Include all committees and entities identified in the sections, 3.1 Project Governance, and 3.2 Project Team Structure.

Project Role [Project Manager]

Responsibilities

Assigned to

Project Role [Business Analyst]

Responsibilities

Assigned to

Project Role [Project Review Committee]

Responsibilities

Assigned to

3.4 Project Facilities and Resources

  • Describe, if applicable, the project's requirements for facilities and resources, such as office space, special facilities, computer equipment, office equipment, and support tools.
  • Identify the person or team responsible for obtaining the specific items needed to support the project's development environment.

Section 4. Project References

This is where you describe and identify the location of key documents that define and establish the project such as the Business Case, the departmental investment plan, departmental long-term strategy, outcome management plan, outcome map, speech from the throne, Cabinet directions, horizontal government initiatives, etc.

More information concerning this project can be found in the following documents:

Document Title
Project Charter Guide

Version #
1D

Date
20-Mar-2008

Author and Organization
Chief Information Officer Branch (CIOB)

Location (link or path)
Y:\CIOB\Template

Section 5. Glossary and acronyms

Define all terms and acronyms required to interpret the Project Charter properly.

Term/Acronym

Definition

Checklist for reviewing your Project Charter:

After you have completed filling in the template for your Project Charter, use the list below to review the different sections to make sure you have included all the information required.

  • The executive summary demonstrates a clear alignment between the project, the Departmental Investment plan, and the Program Activity Architecture.
  • There are specific and measurable project objectives, as well as, business outcomes that are linked to project goals.
  • The scope of the project is clearly stated: the reader can easily understand what product, service, or result will be delivered by the project and what high-level activities will be performed.
  • The deliverables are spread over the duration of the project, following a phased approach composed of decision gates.
  • Summary cost estimates and source of funding to produce internal and external deliverables are provided, including the project management and administrative effort as well as any equipment required (hardware, software, floor space, etc.).
  • Strategic risks are identified and assessed.
  • A governance process is defined to escalate issues when required, to approve changes to the project (scope, budget, schedule), and to accept deliverables.
  • Authority relationships between team members are clearly presented.
  • Project roles and responsibilities are defined and assigned to individuals or groups.
  • Requirements for facilities and resources are described where significant logistical effort and/or funding are involved.

If all of these are checked as complete, then delete this checklist; update the Table of Contents and save the document to file.

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