Documentation is a necessary evil; as burdensome as it can be at times, it also proves immensely valuable within context. As suppliers of a product that can be uniquely customised to client requirements we need to ensure that our customers are equipped to utilise their system to the fullest. Yet we must first have agreed on exactly how we are going to meet the client’s needs in the first place. The Project Charter represents the first piece of IMPORTANT documentation that we present to the customer. Why is it so important?
The Charter sets out the basic parameters and guidelines for the project – these elements are compiled after a thorough diagnostic/pre-sales engagement. It should contain a response to the following questions:
• Why is the project important?
• Business drivers
• Success factors
• What is the desired outcome?
• Identified deliverables
• Who is involved? What will they do?
• Lines of Authority
• What is the timeframe/key dates and the agreed approach for the project?
• Delivery/Implementation Method (Waterfall, Agile)
• What are the rules of engagement?
• Change Control, Issue and Risk Management
As you can see the Project Charter brings together all the project fundamentals into one reference document for all parties involved. It can be time consuming putting together a project charter but it is a great place to set the scene for rest of the project and bring everyone into alignment.
So if you are thinking of skimping on some project documentation – this is not the document to mess with! Without it you will not have a central document that will provide governance to your entire engagement, and will avoid having a conversation like the one depicted above!
Take the time; Do it right; Enjoy the ride!